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
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
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
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
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.