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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Scar Tissue after a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty

07/02/2010

Question:

My doctor thinks I have sleep apnea; however, after a visit with a sleep specialist, he said I have severe scar tissue in my throat which has reduced my air intake.

I had a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty ten years ago.

How can my problem be fixed?

Answer:

Two potential problems that can develop after a UPPP:  if too much tissue is removed, the remaining palate may be incompetent, that is, it may be unable to close off the nasopharynx (that space in the upper throat behind the nose).  This allows air to escape through the nose, impacting speech, and may allow food and liquid to escape through the nose as well. 

Significant scarring can cause the remaining palate and throat wall to close or narrow to the point of obstructing adequate airflow through the nose, leading to nasal obstruction.  This could have a negative impact on sleep apnea as well as quality of life.

Both complications are quite rare.  I suggest you consult an ENT specialist, prefarably one who treats many patients with sleep apnea. 

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Response by:

Allen M Seiden, MD Allen M Seiden, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Division of Rhinology and Sinus Disorders, Director of University Taste and Smell Center, Director of University Sinus and Allergy
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati