When you open your mouth in front of the mirror, you will see a small fleshy mass hanging from the upper palate in the back of the mouth, this projection of muscle tissue is called uvula.
Functions Of Uvula
- Uvula prevents the bacteria which enters the GI tract and Respiratory tract.
- Prevents food particle from entering the nasal cavity when swallowed.
- It plays an important role in articulating the sound.
Snoring and sleep apnea are the two conditions commonly associated with sagging uvula as it partially blocks the air passages when it malfunctions.
Sagging of uvula is due to poor dilator muscle tone, which holds the uvula in normal circumstances.
If the uvula is abnormal it can cause obstruction in airway during sleep.
Surgery For Uvula Removal
Uvula surgery is called uvulectomy, it is the last alternative treatment in obstructive sleep apnea or in abnormal uvula or in severe snoring. There are two types of surgery for uvula removal; one is a major surgery which involves the removal of uvula, the adenoids, the tonsils and the pharynx, the other surgery is laser assisted uvulapalatoplasty, which is comparatively simpler than the previous surgery.
It can be done as an out patient procedure. The procedure involves removal of uvula through elctrocautery.In this procedure bleeding is less.
Uvula Surgery Recovery
The recovery period in uvula surgery is around one month. Post operatively there may be certain food restrictions, useful to heal the tissue.
The later is preferred choice of surgery in surgeons performing uvulectomy.
Side Effects Of Uvula Removal
Side effects from removing uvula:
- Pain for many days after the surgery.
- Food enters the nasal cavity, during swallowing.
- Voice of the patient may change.
- Disturbance in sleep pattern.
- Drainage in the nose.
With all the above side effects, uvula surgery is sought in rarest of rare cases, considering the pros and cons of the condition.