Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty is a highly effective method for removing the causes of loud snoring. The procedure, which is performed on an outpatient basis under local anaesthesia, lasts a mere ten minutes and can help solve a lifelong problem.
Prior to the procedure sleep apnea screening is performed and the patient is examined by a specialist. A local anaesthetic is injected into the soft palate; while this may be unpleasant, it is not painful and is necessary to overcome the pharyngeal reflex. This is the most unpleasant part of the entire procedure.
Using a laser, the specialist modifies the soft palate to reduce or completely eliminate noise-producing vibrations. The laser removes and remodels excess layers of tissue; the uvula is also reduced in size. With healing the palate moves higher, tightens, and ceases to vibrate.
Because the laser removal of snoring is performed in the oral cavity, the patient must cooperate with the physician and synchronize breathing. The physician works as the patient exhales to prevent the inhalation of the odour and light smoke the laser produces while vaporizing cells. The patient must concentrate on breathing to overcome the gag reflex. The laser removal of snoring must be performed slowly to prevent bleeding.
The patient needn’t feel anything unusual immediately after the procedure; the most frequent sensation is a scratching sensation in the throat caused by unhealed sealed tissue.
The unpleasant sensation in the throat can last one or two days. At this point the patient begins to experience greater pain of the type associated with tonsillitis. The patient’s condition worsens for about a week. Difficulties typically peak on the tenth day and within four or five days the pain usually subsides.
This pain can naturally be reduced with medications and mouth wash. Antibiotics are also given preventively so that healing is not complicated by secondary infection.