Uvuloplasty

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

  • Uvuloplasty (u-vew-lo-plah-stee) is surgery to take out the uvula (u-vew-luh). The uvula is the small bit of flesh dangling down in the back of the throat. This surgery is called LASUP for short when a laser is used to do the surgery. Your tonsils may also be taken out if they have not already been removed. Uvuloplasty is done to help stop snoring or obstructive (ub-struk-tiv) sleep apnea or "OSA." This surgery may only give limited relief of your symptoms because there are many causes for obstructive sleep apnea. Ask caregivers for the CareNotes™ handout about sleep apnea for more information.

  • After surgery, your throat may get so swollen it might close completely. This happens very rarely. To prevent this, your caregiver may put a tracheostomy tube in your throat before starting the surgery. This tube is usually used only when your obstruction is severe or you are extremely overweight. The tracheostomy tube is temporary and is removed when the swelling and bleeding have stopped.
    Picture of a normal mouth

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

There are always risks with surgery. You may bleed more than usual, get an infection, have trouble breathing, or get blood clots. Caregivers will watch you closely for these problems. If you do not have surgery, your snoring or sleep apnea could get worse. Call your caregiver if you are worried or have questions about your medicine or care.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Blood Tests:

You may need blood taken for tests. The blood can be taken from a vein in your hand, arm, or the bend in you elbow. It is tested to see how your body is handling the surgery. You may need to have blood drawn more than once.

Call Button:

You can use the call button when you need your caregiver. Pain, trouble breathing, or wanting to get out of bed are good reasons to call.

Chest X-ray:

This is a picture of your lungs and heart. Caregivers use it to see how your lungs and heart are doing before surgery. Caregivers may also use the x-ray to look for signs of infection like pneumonia (new-moan-yuh).

Gown:

A hospital gown is needed so that caregivers can easily check and treat you. Put your gown on so it opens in the back. You may not be allowed to wear pajama bottoms to the operating room. This is because you may need monitors on your skin during surgery.

Informed Consent:

You have the right to understand your health problem in words you can understand. You should be told what tests, treatments, or procedures may be done to treat your problem. Your doctor should also tell you about the risks and benefits of each treatment. You may be asked to sign a consent form that gives caregivers permission to do certain tests, treatments, or procedures. If you are unable to give your consent, someone who has permission can sign this form for you. A consent form is a legal piece of paper that tells exactly what will be done to you. Before giving your consent, make sure all your questions have been answered so that you understand what may happen.

IV:

An IV is a tube placed in your vein for giving medicine or liquids. This tube will be capped or connected to tubing and liquid.

Pre-Op Care:

You may be given medicine right before surgery. This medicine may make you feel sleepy and more relaxed. You are taken on a cart to the room where the surgery is done. Caregivers help you get comfortable on the bed. A belt may be put over your legs for safety. If you get cold, ask for more blankets.

  • General Anesthesia (an-iss-thee-zuh):

    • This is medicine to make you comfortable during surgery. The medicine is given as a liquid in your IV. Or, it is given as a gas through a facemask. The medicine can also be given through a tube placed in your mouth and throat. This tube is called an endotracheal (end-o-tra-kee-ull) tube or "ET" tube. Usually you are asleep before caregivers put the tube into your throat. The ET tube is usually removed before you wake up.

    • You are completely asleep during surgery. Ask your caregiver for the anesthesia CareNotes™ handout if you want to know more about anesthesia. Do not sign legal documents for 24 hours after having anesthesia because anesthesia medicine may make your thinking unclear.

  • Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG. Sticky pads are placed on different parts of your body. Each pad has a wire that is hooked to a TV-type screen. This shows caregivers a tracing of the electrical activity of your heart.
  • Pulse oximeter: A pulse oximeter is a machine that tells how much oxygen is in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your ear, finger, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine. Caregivers use this machine to see if you need more oxygen.

  • Vital signs: This includes taking your temperature, blood pressure, pulse (counting your heartbeat), and respirations (counting your breaths). To take your blood pressure, a cuff is put on your arm and tightened. The cuff is attached to a machine which gives your blood pressure reading. Caregivers may listen to your heart and lungs by using a stethoscope. Your vital signs are taken so caregivers can see how you are doing.

During Surgery:

  • A caregiver cleans your neck and chest with soap and water. This soap may make your skin yellow, but it will be cleaned off later. Sheets are put over you to keep the surgery area clean.

  • A tracheostomy tube may be put into an incision (cut) in your neck before surgery is started. Your caregiver can give you oxygen and other medicine through this tube. If a tracheostomy is not needed, an endotracheal (ET) tube is put into your throat through your nose or mouth. Your tonsils are taken out if they have not already been removed. Caregivers use a knife or laser to cut out the uvula.

After Surgery:

You are taken to the recovery room or the intensive care unit (ICU). Caregivers watch you very closely. A bandage may be around the tracheostomy tube if you have one. This bandage keeps the area clean and dry to prevent infection. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is OK. Your family may be allowed to visit you in the ICU for a short visit several times a day.

  • Activity:

    • You may need to rest in bed but caregivers will help you get out of bed, probably the day of surgery. If you are not allowed out of bed, you can still exercise your legs in bed. Do this by lifting one leg off the bed and drawing big circles with your toes. Then do it with the other leg. Another good exercise is to lie on your side and pretend to pedal a bike. This makes your legs stronger and stops blood clots from forming. Stop if you become tired.

    • Your caregiver will tell you when it is OK to get out of bed. Call your caregiver before getting up for the first time. If you ever feel weak or dizzy, sit or lie down right away. Then call your caregiver by pressing your call button.

  • Blood Gases: This test is also called an "ABG." Blood is taken from an artery in your wrist or groin. The groin is the area where your abdomen (belly) meets your upper leg. Your blood is tested for the amount of oxygen, acids, and carbon dioxide (di-oks-ide) in your blood. ABGs may be done if you have trouble breathing or other problems caused by your illness.

  • Day/Night Confusion: If you stay in ICU, you may not know when it is daytime or nighttime. This is common for patients staying in this unit. It can be caused by having the lights on all the time. The lights may cause you to feel or act confused. When you are moved to a room on a regular floor, you will become more aware of time.

  • Diet: You may be able to eat when bowel sounds are heard. Your caregiver will listen to your stomach for bowel sounds using a stethoscope. You may be given ice chips at first, and then liquids such as water, broth, juice, or soda pop. If you do not have problems after drinking liquids, caregivers may then give you soft foods. Some examples of soft foods are ice cream, applesauce, or custard. Once you can eat soft food easily, you may begin eating your usual diet.

  • Deep Breathing: This exercise should be done once an hour to keep you from getting a lung infection.

    • Deep breathing opens the tubes going to your lungs. Take a deep breath and hold the breath as long as you can. Then let out your breath. Take 10 deep breaths in a row every hour while awake. Follow your caregiver's instructions about doing these exercises if you have a breathing tube in place.

    • You may be asked to use an incentive (in-sen-tiv) spirometer (sper-om-ih-ter). This helps you take deeper breaths. Put the plastic piece into your mouth and take a very deep breath. Hold your breath as long as you can. Then let out your breath. Take 10 deep breaths in a row every hour while awake.

  • Medicines:

    • Antibiotics(an-ti-bi-ah-tiks): This medicine may be given to help you fight an infection caused by a germ called a bacteria (bak-teer-e-uh). Antibiotics may be given by IV, as a shot, or by mouth.

    • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and control vomiting (throwing up). Pain medicine may upset your stomach and make you feel like vomiting. Because of this, pain medicine and anti-nausea medicine are often given at the same time.

    • Pain Medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to lessen pain. This medicine may be given in your IV, as a shot, or by mouth. Tell caregivers if your pain does not go away or comes back.

  • Pressure Stockings: These tight elastic stockings keep blood from staying in the legs and causing clots. The stockings are also called Ted Hose® or Jobst Stockings® . These stockings can keep you from getting blood clots.

  • Pneumatic boots: These are plastic boots or leggings put on your feet or legs over pressure stockings or ace wraps. The boots or leggings are connected to an air pump machine. The pump tightens and loosens different parts of the pneumatic boots. This helps push the blood back up to the heart to keep clots from forming.

  • Ventilator (ven-tih-la-ter)/Oxygen:

    • You may need extra oxygen when waking up and for a day or two after surgery. This can be given through the tracheostomy tube if you have one or through the ET tube. A breathing machine called a ventilator may be used to give you the oxygen. You will be given paper and pencil to communicate with your caregivers because you cannot speak while this tube is in place.

    • Once the tracheostomy tube or ET tube is taken out, you may still need oxygen. The oxygen may be given through a plastic mask over your mouth and nose. Or, it may be given through nasal prongs (short, thin tubes in your nose).

  • Wrist Restraints: These are strips of cloth or leather used to tie your wrists to the sides of your bed. Restraints are used to keep you from pulling out the ET tube. The restraints are taken off when the tracheostomy tube or ET tube is removed.

Copyright © 2008 Thomson Healthcare Inc. All rights reserved. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

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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