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Surgery Helps Treat Sleep Apnea

Removing glands, tonsils to widen airways improves symptoms of disorder, study finds

TUESDAY, Feb. 17, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A modified form of surgery to treat obstructive sleep apnea seems to reduce symptoms of the disorder, claims research in the February issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology.

This study examined the efficacy of a modified version of a surgery called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), which involves removal of some tissue in the throat to widen the airway and reduce symptoms of sleep apnea.

However, reports suggest that fewer than 50 percent of people with sleep apnea completely respond to UPPP. To improve that response rate, a modified version of the surgery, called extended uvulopalatal flap (EUPF) surgery, was developed.

EUPF surgery involves removal of fatty tissues, soft glands in the throat and tonsils to increase airway space. Muscle tissue is left intact.

Researchers at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan, evaluated the effectiveness of EUPF in 55 patients with sleep apnea.

The overall success rate for EUPF surgery was 82 percent. Patients who had EUPF surgery snored less, had improved blood oxygen levels, and reported less daytime sleepiness.

"Extended uvulopalatal flap surgery can greatly reduce sleep-related adverse events and proves to be an effective therapy to enhance the quality of life of patients with obstructive sleep apnea," the study authors write.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about obstructive sleep apnea.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Feb. 16, 2004
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