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Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is surgery to remove part or all of your uvula, soft palate, pharynx, or tonsils. Your soft palate is the back of the roof of your mouth. The uvula is the small piece of flesh that hangs at the back of your throat. The pharynx is your throat. UPPP may help you breathe easier, decrease snoring, and treat your sleep apnea.

Mouth Anatomy

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You cough up or vomit blood.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing.
  • You are confused.

Call your doctor or surgeon if:

  • You have severe pain.
  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have white patches in your mouth and on your tongue.
  • You lose your ability to taste.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • 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 healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Antibiotics help prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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.

Self-care:

  • Apply ice on the skin under your jaw for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps decrease swelling and pain.
  • Drink liquids as directed. This will help prevent dehydration. Liquids and foods that are cool or cold will help decrease pain and swelling. Examples include water, apple or grape juice, and popsicles. Do not drink citrus juices, such as orange juice or grapefruit juice. They may irritate your throat. Do not drink hot liquids such as coffee, tea, or soup. These liquids may hurt your throat.
  • Eat soft foods for 10 to 14 days to decrease pain while you eat. Examples of soft foods include applesauce, scrambled or boiled eggs, mashed potatoes, gelatin, and ice cream. Once you can eat soft food easily, you may slowly begin to eat solid foods. Avoid anything hot, spicy, or with sharp edges, such as chips.
  • Care for your mouth as directed. Gently rinse your mouth as directed to remove blood and mucus. Brush your teeth gently. Avoid harsh gargling or tooth brushing. This can cause bleeding.
  • Elevate your head and upper back. Keep your head and upper back elevated when you rest, such as in a recliner. Place extra pillows under your head and neck when you sleep in bed. Elevation will help decrease swelling.
  • Limit your activity for 7 to 10 days after surgery. Get plenty of rest. It may take 2 weeks for you to recover. Ask when you can drive or return to work.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can prevent healing after surgery. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Follow up with your surgeon in 4 to 6 weeks:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (Discharge Care)

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