The uvula is a piece of dangling soft tissue found above the back of your tongue. It can contribute to snoring, especially in patients with elongated, large, or tapered uvulas. While sleeping, breathing may cause the uvula to vibrate, creating snoring.
An uvulectomy is a procedure Drs. Katin or Gawthrop may recommend if you are a candidate. Candidates for uvulectomy are those whose snoring problems can be traced to the uvula. During the procedure, Drs. Katin or Gawthrop will perform coblation therapy, which is similar to traditional laser surgery, but requires a much lower temperature. Radiofrequency energy is delivered to the uvula to gently remove the excess tissue, and open up the oral airway.
Coblation therapy for uvulectomy is performed in-office using local anesthesia, and usually takes less than 20 minutes. The noninvasive nature of the surgery ensures it produces minimal damage to surrounding cells, and most patients leave with minor discomfort. Normal activities can generally be resumed shortly after surgery.
Laser Assisted Uvuloplasty or LAUP is a procedure which removes the uvula and uses the laser to reduce the bulkiness of the tissue in the back of the throat. Compared to uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, it is less invasive and can often be performed under local anesthesia with IV sedation. While LAUP is very effective in treating snoring, it does not significantly improve sleep apnea and is often not covered by insurance.