Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (Discharge Care) Care Guide

  • Laser-assisted uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, also called LA-UPPP, is a surgery that uses a laser to remove tissues in your throat. LA-UPPP is done to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a condition where you suddenly stop breathing, many different times, while you are sleeping. In OSA, tissues in your mouth such as your soft palate, tongue, and uvula block your throat. Very little or no air and oxygen may pass through, and loud snoring may be heard. When your body does not have enough air, you may gasp and wake often to catch your breath. You may feel very sleepy when you wake up the next day. Ask your caregiver for more information about snoring and OSA.

  • During LA-UPPP, a laser (a very powerful beam of light) is used to remove tissues inside your mouth. These tissues may include the soft palate, uvula, and parts of your pharynx. Your soft palate is the back part of the roof of your mouth. The uvula is the small piece of flesh that hangs at the back of your throat. The pharynx, also called the throat, is the tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose. The pharynx ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes to the stomach). A tonsillectomy (removal of your tonsils) may also be done if your tonsils are large. LA-UPPP may help you breathe easier, decrease snoring, and improve your sleep.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Take your medicine as directed.

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.

  • Magic mouthwash: This special mouthwash has medicines mixed in it to decrease pain in your mouth and throat. You will need to gargle (bubble in the back of your throat) this liquid and then spit it out. Follow your caregiver's instructions on how to use this medicine.

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your primary healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.

  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.

    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

  • Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

  • Ask your caregiver when you need to return to have your wounds checked. He may ask you and your family members to answer some questions about your condition after your surgery. Your caregiver needs to know if you are still feeling tired during the day and if you are still snoring. Special testing may need to be done if you have lost your ability to taste things. This test is usually done in the third and ninth month after your surgery.

  • You will need a polysomnography (sleep study) test 3 to 6 months after your surgery. This will show if the surgery has helped your OSA and if other treatments may be needed. During this test, your caregiver places wires on your head and body. The wires connect to a machine that monitors how your brain, heart, and lungs function while you sleep. The machine shows how many times you stop breathing and wake up during the night. The test also monitors your body and eye movements, and how deep you sleep. Ask your caregiver for more information about polysomnography.

Diet and activity:

You may have pain and trouble swallowing for a few days after your surgery. Caregivers may start you on a soft diet until you heal. Some examples of soft foods are applesauce, bananas, cooked cereal, cottage cheese, eggs, gelatin, pudding, and yogurt. Your caregivers will give you instructions on when it is safe to return to your usual activities.

Keep the correct weight:

Ask your caregiver how much you should weigh for your height. Keeping the correct weight may help prevent your OSA from returning or worsening. Your caregiver may help you with a weight loss plan if needed.

Self care instructions:

Your surgical site may be discolored for some time. This is normal and the area will slowly return to its normal color. Swelling and pain may be decreased by sucking on ice chips. Placing an ice bag on the underside of your lower jaw may also help with pain and swelling. You may feel tightness or lumpiness in your throat after your surgery. Chewing gum and pushing your tongue to the roof of your mouth when swallowing may help decrease this feeling.

Sleeping instructions:

  • Avoid sleeping on your back. Back sleeping may cause areas of your throat to block your airway and cause you to snore. Sleeping with your head raised may help you breathe better while you sleep.

  • Do not drink alcohol before bedtime. Alcoholic drinks may worsen your snoring or OSA. Alcohol can be found in adult drinks such as beer, whiskey, vodka, and wine.

  • Keep using your continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). If you used CPAP before your surgery, you may need to continue for a period of time. CPAP is a machine that helps you breathe better while you sleep. Ask your caregiver if you need to use your CPAP and for how long after your surgery.

Stop smoking:

Smoking may cause you to heal slower and harms your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. If you smoke, you should quit. You are more likely to have a heart attack, lung disease, and cancer with smoking. Ask your caregiver for more information about how to stop smoking if you are having trouble quitting.

CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:

  • You have chills, a cough, sore throat, or feel weak and achy.

  • You have pain in your throat even after taking medicines.

  • You have white patches in your mouth and on your tongue.

  • You lose your ability to taste.

  • Your stitches come apart or fall out.

  • You have questions or concerns about your recovery, medicine, or care.

SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

  • You are bleeding from the area you had your surgery, and it does not stop.

  • You are coughing up or throwing up blood.

  • You feel very thirsty, have dry skin, a fast heartbeat, and you urinate less often.

  • You have shaking chills and a fever.

  • You suddenly have trouble breathing or chest pain.

  • Your incisions are red, swollen, or have pus coming out of them.

  • Your nose is bleeding and you have trouble breathing because of it.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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