UPPP Surgery Overview
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.
"I had some plastic surgery done to correct my a creator on head after a traumatic event. Dr Schendel gave me a few options to consider, which resulted with excellent results."- A.K. / Google / May 09, 2018
"I am taking the time to share the positive experiences I have had of Dr. Schendel because it is important that any public information is accurate. Firstly, the doctor went out of his way and..."- A.T. / Yahoo / Dec 03, 2017
"I am taking the time to share the positive experiences I have had of Dr. Schendel because it is important that any public information is accurate. Firstly, the doctor went out of his way and made room in his schedule to consult regarding my 8 year-old daughter's needs when we had no prior relationship with him and oral surgery was imminent. He was gentle with her and honest with me about our choices. His expertise and care allowed me to make the best choice for my child.Secondly, he has cared for more than one individual I hold dear. This family has faced over 20 years of medical intervention and combined, upward of 30 surgeries. Dr. Schendel has been steadfast, consistent, and brilliant in his care of my dear one and her child. As her friend, each time they have faced yet another intense physical challenge or surgery, I have rest assured that she was getting the absolute best treatment because she was in Dr. Schendel's care. The bottom line is I trust him, both to care for my family and those I cherish.Aneea Toomajian PPS, LMFTEducational and Behavioral Consultant"- A.T. / Yelp / Dec 03, 2017
"Dr. Schendel has been my surgeon since I was 15 years old, I am now 44. I have been incredibly grateful for his work and dedication to his field. He has performed several procedures on me to correct a severe unilateral cleft lip and palate. I was referred to him because my clefting was so unusual and other surgeons had been unsuccessful with my case. My cheekbones were non-existent, eye sockets sucken in, jaw extremely recessed, palate permanently open and I had existing scar tissue from previous cosmetic surgery attempts by another surgeon. These are ALL the things Dr. Schendel has fixed with expertise, compassion and dedication. californiacraniofacialin…Over the years, Dr. Schendel has carefully and compassionately rebuilt my face from the inside out. Giving me the bone structure that I was not born with due to the severity of my cranial facial anomalies.When I first met him(I was 14) he excused his entire team of fellows who were there to observe him. He gave me the privacy I needed, handed me a mirror and asked me, "What don't you like about your face?". As a teenager, I was given the space to communicate the things that were great sources of pain. I explained the various things about my cleft lip that caused other kids teased me about. From that moment Dr. Schendel set out to give me a normal face with nothing but determination, dedication and true compassion.Over the years, I have faced other complications with my bone structure and degeneration from my severe cleft. Dr. Schendel has fiercely, carefully and methodically worked to fix the constant erosion and instability in my face. He has striveded to continually find the newest, best techniques available. I have been able to have implants along with bone grafts to retabalize my eroding palate, stem cell procedures to improve the tissue and blood flow to my face and cosmetic revisions-- I have been incredibly grateful and happy with the results.Dr. Schendel's ability to listen and connect with me has been amazing. As a youth, I felt safe, validated and listened too as a patient. As an adult, he has heard my worries and validated the pain I have felt in my face and palate. He has worked tirelessly to fix my cranial facial anomalies. I believe that his ability to be so compassionate and careful with his patients comes from YEARS of working with cleft affected children here and in third world countries. A few years ago, I learned that Dr. Schendel has also volunteered countless hours of surgery in third world countries to operate on children. He has insisted that the surgeries are learning sessions for local doctors in those countries. He has created a learning environment to teach the newest techniques to other physicians in these countries. He also spends months of his own time collecting supplies to take to these countries to donate for the surgeries. Dr. Schendel's passion for rebuilding faces generates from a desire to truly want to help rebuild lives--physically...and emotionally.Our son is also bilaterally cleft affected, he is now 13. Dr. Schendel has revised his soft palate and his lip. It is with tremendous gratitude that we have Dr. Schendel as our son's doctor. His revision is beautiful and his cleft is a non-issue. His speech has also VASTLY improved due to the titrated listening of Dr. Schendel in knowing how to revise our sons palate so skillfully so he can now make sounds like "J" "P" "K". I have referred Dr. Schendel to several family friends for various things that are not cleft related. Not because Dr. Schendel is an incredible oral maxillary and plastic surgeon. But because of his ability to connect with his patients, to hear them, to see them and then to use his dedication to medicine to help them."- V.L. / Yelp / Dec 03, 2017
"Dr. Schendel has been my surgeon since I was 15 years old, I am now 44. I have been incredibly grateful for his work and dedication to his field. He has performed several procedures on me to..."- V.L. / Yahoo / Dec 03, 2017
UPPP Surgery Surgical Technique
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 Surgery During/After Surgery
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.
UPPP Surgery Expected Cost
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.