Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPP)

What is a UPP

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, referred to as UPP for ease, is an operation to assist with snoring and on occasion obstructive sleep apnoea. The objective is to improve the stability of the upper airway with decreased vibration. This can be achieved by removing the tonsils to increase space and shortening and stiffening the soft palate.

The Operation

UPP is performed in hospital under general anaesthesia with most people staying for two nights post-operatively. The tonsils, if still present, are removed as per normal tonsillectomy. Shortening and stiffening of the soft palate can be achieved in a number of ways. My preference is to use a special instrument called a coblator to remove some of the soft tissues overlying the muscles of the soft palate in the mouth. These raw areas are then covered by suturing the soft palate forward on itself.

After surgery

Postoperative Stay

UPP is quite a painful procedure and most people will need to stay in hospital for a couple of days. This is to allow adequate analgesia  and  appropriate post-operative monitoring.

Discharge from hospital

Discharge from hospital won't occur until I'm happy that  a satisfactory diet is being maintained along with adequate fluid intake. Time in hospital will vary from person to person.


A normal diet following surgery is desirable but in the case of UPP is often difficult. Many people tolerate only a soft diet for the first few days. It is most important however that adequate fluid intake is maintained.

Activity and return to work

I advise taking two weeks of work due to the discomfort. During this period rest time is appropriate.

Pain relief

Unfortunately this is quite a painful procedure. On discharge you will be prescribed Celebrex and Endone. The instructions on how to take these can be found in the postoperative instruction sheet.

 Nurofen and Aspirin should not be used.

Other medications

I normally also prescribe antibiotics to be used for one week.


A small amount of blood in the mucus of the mouth is not uncommon. If bleeding is heavy or prolonged you should contact me.

Postoperative instructions

You will be given instructions for care upon discharge. These are also available to download here. At discharge you will also be given a post-operative appointment and my mobile phone number.