Health

My Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) Recovery: Final Thoughts

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty - UPPP

Today is day 6 of my UPPP recovery and I am pretty confident in saying that my short-term experience with my sleep apnea correction is over.

I read a lot of horror stories on the internet which almost convinced me not to move forward, but I am glad that I did. This is just my experience. Every doctor is different. Every procedure is different. People heal differently. I suggest that you do your own research and make your own decision obviously, but I am hoping that my experience will help you with what to expect.

First of all, don’t try to be a hero and not take your pain meds. The nurses will ask how you are feeling and give you medication based on that, they don’t automatically give you anything. As soon as you wake up, tell them you are in pain and try to keep an eye on the clock. Take note of when you start feeling pain and how long after you take the medication you stop feeling pain. For me, the morphine only lasted for about an hour. The “elixirs” they gave me worked a lot better. They lasted about 4 hours and took about 30 minutes to peak. This means at about 3.5 hours I was asking for it.

The saline sprays are important to keep your nose lubricated, otherwise your nose will produce it’s own form of lubrication by way of mucous and really clog things up. I learned this the hard way because the night nurse didn’t force me to take them the way the day nurse did.

I did not speak a word the first day. I don’t know if this helped, but I didn’t want to cause any extra pain. I’ve read stories of people talking too much and causing pain.  I also didn’t eat anything the first day either, and I stayed on soup, jello, pudding, and water until the doctor said my throat was healing fine. I wanted to make sure everything was ok in there before I started forcing solids.

Once I got home, sinus rinses kept me open. I used an ear syringe to suck up any extra mucous I had sitting around in my nose. At the doctor’s recommendation, I gargled with half water/peroxide just to keep my mouth clean. This helped a lot as well.

I lay in bed with a lot pillows so that I can sleep at an incline. Even though the doctor said I should try my CPAP machine once I got the stents out, I haven’t had a need for it because I have been sleeping very well. He said it was ok, as long as I monitored my energy levels and my wife watched my breathing while asleep. I will probably need to do another sleep study in about 6-8 weeks, but he didn’t want to get to ahead and say I was healed. I suppose that’s a safe route, but I can honestly say I feel healed. My wife has not noticed any apneas and I am sleeping straight through the night.

Getting my sleep apnea corrected was very important, not just for better rest, but to avoid any permanent brain damage due to lack of oxygen. Studies have shown that long-time apnea sufferers have shown up to 20% brain loss on the left side. The left side is the analytical side of the brain, and very important for my line of work. I’m not a model, athlete, or artist. Sleep apnea also increases the risk of strokes and high blood pressure/ heart attack. For me, it also made me very cranky and hard to deal with sometimes.

If you have sleep apnea, I suggest you get it taken care of as soon as possible. It is a very serious condition. Hopefully your path to recovery is as blessed as mine.

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7 Comments

  1. Hi there,

    I just came across your story. I’m a 20 year old female, student, recently diagnosed with sleep apnea. I also have epilepsy (so you may be able to see how sleep apnea affects the epilepsy). I am considering having the surgery but I really wanted to do a lot of research on it before I went ahead. Reading your story and hearing the positive feedback, I feel is encouraging me to move forward and have it done on my Christmas break.

    I’m not too sure if you still check this or if you will see it or not, but I would be interested in hearing your results now, a couple years later, if you don’t mind of course!

    Thanks for your post, I think it helped me with my decision!

  2. Hi,
    I recently had a uppp surgery. I am in the stage of recovery and it is 25 days of my surgery. My sleep is better than before and energy is also better. However, the associated symptoms of not being able to think clearly or memory problem are not developing that much. As like you I also work in a field where I do need to do a lot of analytical work. How much time was needed for recovery of brain fog for you? Was the development was full or partial. Please let me know. Thanks a lot
    Tanveer

    1. Hi Shaikh, apologies for the late response. I honestly can’t remember if there was any long-lasting brain fog issues. What I do remember is having speech issues, messing up words e.g. “sloon” instead of “spoon” as an example. I know I am suffering from sleep loss when that happens.

      One other thing I have learned since then is that I have a dairy allergy, and apparently dairy affects sleep patterns. For me, I get extra phlegmy and that, in addition to inflammation, can cause sleep issues for me.

      Lastly, finding a pillow that keeps my neck aligned right has really helped. It’s a horrible night for everyone involved if I don’t have my pillow.

      I hope this message finds you in better times. Take care!

  3. I am 7 days post op from my UPPP, where they took tonsils, uvula, and reshaped palate (left the adenoids). History of tonsil stones, recurrent tonsillitis, and chronic infections (just constantly sick with everything). I heavily researched like you may be doing, so I’m just going to summarize here for any who may want it: Ice. Plan on using a lot of ice, for ice packs and in the mouth, I bought 40 pounds of ice before surgery and we’re over half through it (I’m in the US and bought ice from the burger chain SONIC, it is great ice and you can get in 10 lb bags). Laxatives: you will be put on strong pain meds, which not everyone tells you causes constipation. I take a laxative with every pain pill. Humidifier: essential. Just, vital. Get one. Flash Cards and Notebook: handy for communicating with family. I have flash cards I made saying things like water, ice pack, food, pain pills. Pain: I’ve had broken bones, given birth, and nothing compares to the pain of this surgery. I *wanted* to know that information, to be prepared. Be prepared, it’s intense. Worth it: even 3 days after surgery I could feel that this was worth it, that my body was in better shape than it was pre-surgery.

    1. Thanks for the comment and additional information for others. While I did not experience this much pain, I am glad that despite what you might be feeling you still feel like it was worth it. I wish you the best in your recovery.

  4. Hi there
    I have put this procedure off due to people stating they can’t swallow properly or cough for a few minutes after eating toast.

    I also read that after surgery the OSA returns.

    Is this true how does it affect swallowing and does the OSA return?

    Thank you

    1. John, I have personally had any issues eating toast. On rare occasions, liquid may tickle my throat in a way that causes a cough. I can say my OSA does come back after eating a lot of dairy, which causes me to be produce a lot more phlegm in my throat, but thats more to do with allergies than the procedure. All that being said, I never regret doing it. Good luck to you!

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