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LAUP is called as Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty. The uvula is a V-shaped extended structure that is located at the end of the soft palate. The uvula hangs at the entrance of the throat just above the end of the tongue. Laser Assisted Uvuloplasty is a surgical procedure that is used to remove this uvula along with all the tissues surrounding it.


Once these tissues are removed through LAUP it opens the airway behind the palate. This procedure is mostly effective in treating patients who are suffering from Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Not only this, LAUP has also been proved to be successful in treating snoring.

How is LAUP done?

The LAUP treatment uses a laser to remove or rather disintegrate the uvula along with some of the tissues located around that specified part of the palate. There are a series of small procedures that are done during this laser therapy. The entire procedure is performed under local anesthesia as it is an out patient procedure.

A local anesthesia is sprayed initially over the back oral cavity covering the soft palate, tonsils and the uvula. This is followed by an injection of additional anesthesia dose in the uvula directly. The patient is made to sit in the upright position in the examination chair of the OPD while performing the procedure.

After the anesthesia effect has been checked by the physician, a carbon dioxide laser is used to make incisions in the palate. A vertical incision is made in the palate and also along both sides of the uvula. The uvula is then made shorter. This gets rid of the obstruction and helps in clearing the passage. One to three treatments of LAUP is common, though in some cases it may take up to five sittings over a period of four to eight weeks.

Advantages of LAUP

Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty is performed under local anesthesia and thereby is considered to be

1. Safer
2. Economical
3. Comfortable

As an alternative it is considered to be much less stressful when compared to UPPP. Unlike UPPP, LAUP can be repeated in order to obtain the maximum desired effect. The number of procedures needed varies with some patients requiring up to five sessions. The tonsils are not removed with this procedure.

Disadvantages of LAUP

1. A patient undergoing LAUP has to undergo recovery pain several times unlike UPPP. This pain is resolved usually within a period of two weeks.
2. The success rate of the surgery is not as high as UPPP.
3. Reports say that after two years of the surgery many patients are found to have symptoms of sleep apnea once again.
4. It is difficult to perform on patients who have a strong gag reflex.
Recently, the American Sleep Disorders Association has concluded that, because current data does not demonstrate the efficacy of LAUP in sleep-related breathing disorders, it not be recommended for treatment of these disorders.