UPPP (UP3) stands for uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. It is a surgical procedure performed by Palo Alto plastic and maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Stephen Schendel. It is performed on patients who suffer from sleep apnea and other sleep disorders because of excess tissue that hangs within the uvula (the small tissue that hangs at the back of the throat). These patients not only suffer from sleep disorder syndrome, but often have trouble breathing, as well as ongoing sinus issues. Snoring is one of the most prominent reasons why patients find themselves consulting with a sleep expert. Dr. Schendel offers both surgical and nonsurgical remedies using UPPP.
"Dr. Schendel is helping me feel like myself again after a tumor changed my life. - I am 28F and was diagnosed with a rare pituitary tumor resulting in a condition called acromegaly in 2015. Because of this condition my brow grew, the soft tissue in my face increased and the right side of my jaw grew asymmetrically which resulted in a quickly developed underbite. After surgically controlling the tumor by an SF neurosurgeon to ensure no more growth would occur, my husband and..."- B. / RealSelf / Apr 28, 2017
"Best decision I ever made! - Best decision I ever made was to have a mid-face lift with Dr. Schendel. He listened to my concerns and came up with a strategy that I would be pleased with. Dr. Schendel has a great bedside manner and put my fears to rest pre-surgery. He and his staff were very attentive post surgery as well. I look renewed and refreshed not "done". I no longer cringe when I look in the mirror. Thank you for giving me a decade+ back."- C. / RealSelf / Mar 24, 2017
"Dr. Schendal is a consummate professional with a warm caring disposition. He is held in very high regard by everyone I spoke to at Stanford Hospital. I had absolute confidence in him and my surgery held no surprises due to the care he took in explaining everything and setting realistic expectations. His post op care was just as good."- L.G. / Healthgrades / Oct 23, 2016
"Dr. Schendel is a great doctor. My family and I have been fortunate enough to be under Dr. Schendel's care for many years. He has been helping me look and feel beautiful since my 50th bday... many years ago. He and his staff are wonderful in every way. His office manager, Carol Oderio, and everyone in his office treat you with the greatest care and make sure everything is perfect:) Dr. Schendel is able to enhance your beauty in an amazing way, all while looking very natural."- J.H. / Yelp / Mar 14, 2016
"I've been getting Botox from Dr. Schendel for several years - and I still look forward to my appointments because he always manages to make me smile and laugh. The office is clean, easily located by the freeway, and the staff is courteous and always prompt."- C.R. / Yelp / Nov 01, 2015
During this procedure, the patient is put under general anesthesia. Dr. Schendel gains access into the mouth using mouth-opening props. Using surgical tools he carefully removes and repositions the abnormal and excess tissue from the soft palate and uvula. During the procedure, it is common to remove the tonsils, and in children, the adenoids. There are many modifications to the traditional UPPP technique that improve the airway at this level. Laser surgery use to be a more common approach, but in recent years, radiofrequency (TCRF) is a great alternative for patients who qualify. It is less invasive and not as painful.
UPPP can either be performed as outpatient procedure or may require an overnight stay in the hospital. The procedure is performed at our accredited surgical facility. Patients will find that for the first 2-3 days following surgery there will be some moderate discomfort. This decreases over the first few days. Liquid pain medicine can control this discomfort, and we usually expect that pain medications can taper off in 2-7 days. If the tonsils are also included it is well known to be associated with more discomfort and the healing process is slightly prolonged. A liquid and soft diet is recommended for 1-2 weeks after surgery.
The cost for UPPP surgery ranges between $2,000-$10,000 (and in some cases more). The variation in cost is determined upon whether it is just the trimming of the uvula that is being addressed, or if the tonsils and adenoids are also being addressed. Once a complete diagnosis has been given, a cost can be appropriated. Insurance does typically cover a portion of this procedure. Our insurance and billing coordinator will help determine exactly how much will be covered once surgery has been confirmed.
Plan Your Procedure
- Average Cost
- $2,000 - $10,000
- Recovery Time
- 1-2 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 2-3 Hours
- Post-op Follow-up
- 2 Weeks
- Procedure Recovery Location
Can This Heal Snoring?
Obstructed sleep apnea is a serious problem for many people and can greatly affect the quality of life for these individuals. If excess tissue at the back of the throat is the problem, then UPPP surgery generally takes care of the problem and has a good success rate. This allows patients to not only stop snoring, but to enjoy a restful night of sleep.
Easy to Diagnose?
While not all sleep disorders are cut and dry and easy to diagnose, patients with an abnormality within the uvula (excess tissue) can often be diagnosed easily through an in-office exam. Initially, the surgeon will use a tongue blade and press down on the patient's tongue to check the soft palate tissue. This is the same test to check for those with throat and ongoing sinus issue. However, if overgrowth of the uvula does exist, it will be evident during this exam.
What About Laser?
UPPP can be performed via a minimally invasive surgical approach or through radiofrequency (TCRF). Laser techniques were, at one time, a preferred method, but due to pain associated with the laser TCRF has all but replaced that approach. Surgery is used in more advanced cases while radiofrequency is used in moderate to less complex diagnoses.