Laser-Assisted Uvuloplatoplasty (LAUP)
LAUP is performed under local or general anaesthetic and is considered to be a safer, more economical and a more comfortable alternative to UPPP. It involves vaporising the free edge of the soft palate and uvula using a laser. Unlike UPPP, LAUP can be repeated in order to obtain the desired effect. The number of procedures needed varies with some patients requiring up to four sessions. The tonsils are not removed with this procedure. Although laser surgery is associated with fewer complications than UPPP, post-operative pain is still reported as being severe.
In clinical trials that compared UPPP with LAUP, there was no significant difference in post-operative pain between the two. Post-operative pain peaked anywhere from 3 to 9 days after surgery and usually resolved within 2 weeks. Because of the severe post-operative pain LAUP negatively affects the patient compliance and unlike UPPP patients who undergo the procedure only once, LAUP patients often have to undergo the post-operative severe pain several times. As with UPPP the success rate from this type of surgery is not high and research indicates that 2 years after the surgery only 55% if patients report that their bed partner is satisfied with the outcome. One disadvantage of LAUP is that it is difficult to perform on patients who have a strong gag reflex.