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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.

Getting Ready

Before Surgery:

  • You will need to have a sleep study done if you are having this surgery for obstructive sleep apnea. You may also need an endoscopy (end-oss-kuh-p) to look at your mouth, throat, and windpipe (breathing tube). This test may be done in your caregiver's office to find out where an obstruction is that blocks your breathing.
  • Do not take any aspirin or ibuprofen (i-bew-pro-fin) ____ days before surgery. If your caregiver has told you to take aspirin daily, do not stop without asking first.
  • You may be given a tour of the ICU before surgery to help you become familiar with it.
  • Ask your caregiver before taking any over-the-counter medicine. Tell your caregiver if you take vitamins, herbs, food supplements, or laxatives. Your caregivers can find out if these medicines interact with medicines you may need during surgery.
  • You may need to have blood drawn for tests. Come to the lab by ____.
  • Take antibiotic (an-ti-bi-ah-tik) medicine before surgery if given to you by your caregiver.
  • Sleep testing may be needed if are snoring or have symptoms of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes you to sleep restlessly and have periods where you stop breathing during sleep.

The Night Before Surgery:

  • You may be given a pill to take to help you sleep.
  • Do not eat or drink anything (not even water) after ____.

The Day of Surgery:

  • Be at the hospital at ____ the day of surgery. Bring with you any papers your caregiver has given you to sign.
  • Your surgery will be around ____.
  • Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine the day of surgery. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of your medicines or the pill bottles with you to the hospital.
  • Do not wear contact lenses the day of surgery. You may wear glasses.
  • If you are staying in the hospital after surgery, bring your personal belongings with you. These include your bathrobe, toothbrush, denture cup (if needed), hairbrush, and slippers. Do not wear jewelry or bring money to the hospital.
  • An anesthesiologist (an-iss-thee-z-all-o-jist) may talk to you before your surgery. The anesthesiologist is the caregiver who gives you medicine to make you sleepy 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.

Treatment

What Will Happen:

  • You will be asked to change into a hospital gown. You may be given medicine in your IV to help you relax or make you drowsy. You will be taken on a cart to the operating room. You will be given general anesthesia to keep you completely asleep.
  • Your tonsils will be taken out if they have not already been removed. Caregivers will check your adenoids and may remove them if they are large or infected. Caregivers will use a knife or laser to remove your uvula. Extra oxygen may be needed when waking up and for a day or two after surgery. It will be given to you through a tracheostomy tube. Or, your caregivers may decide to leave in the endotracheal (ET) tube.

After Surgery:

You will be taken to a recovery room. You will be there until you either wake up. You may then be taken back to your room or to the intensive care unit (ICU). Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is OK.

Waiting Room:

This is a room where your family can wait until you are ready for visitors after surgery. Your doctor or nurse can then find them to let them know how the surgery went. If your family leaves the hospital, ask them to leave a phone number where they can be reached. When it is time for you to go home after surgery, someone will need to drive you home. Do not drive home alone. An adult should stay with you for at least 24 hours after surgery.

CALL ____ IF:

  • You cannot make it to your surgery appointment on time.
  • You get sick (a cold or flu) or have a temperature over ____F (____C). Your surgery may need to be done later when you are well.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.
  • The problems for which you are having the surgery get worse.

© 2016 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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