Chủ Nhật, 16 tháng 12, 2012

Uvula is the small fleshy mass protruding downwards from the soft palate at the back side of the mouth. There are no characteristic functions of uvula as an isolated organ. It works in coordination with the soft palate, inhaled air and back of throat portion to produce specific sounds. Another major uvula function is to prevent food entry into the breathing passage at the time of swallowing. Removing uvula is indicated for some medical problems, but one should discuss the negatives of uvula removal with the concerned doctor before participating the surgery.

Uvula Removal: Surgery and Side Effects

Before we deal with uvula removal side effects, let's try to understand the purpose for performing this surgery and the surgical procedure. Anatomically, this fleshy mass is made up of connective tissues, muscle fibers and some glands. Also referred to as uvulectomy, the procedure for uvula removal is performed to treat severe cases of sleep apnea, heavy breathing and snoring problems. All these are resulted due to elongated uvula problem, which either blocks the air passageway or vibrates during breathing.

A commonly reported uvula condition is abnormal enlargement or swelling. Remember that uvula removal surgery is not applicable for addressing swelling of uvula. It is a completely different problem. For such a case, the treatment approaches vary according to swollen uvula causes. But, there is no need for uvula removal to treat the swelling, unless the condition is something very serious.

The surgery for uvula removal is basically of two types, viz. uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (abbreviated as UPPP) and laser assisted uvulapalatoplasty (abbreviated as LAUP). The former encompasses removal of any of the parts, soft palate, tonsils, adenoids, uvula tissues and pharynx. In case of LAUP, a section or whole uvula is excised for snoring treatment. As expected, uvula removal recovery period is shorter in case of laser assisted procedure. Also, there are less uvula removal side effects and complications associated with this minimally invasive technique.

In some African regions, removal of small parts of uvula by a healing expert is a custom. This rarely causes adverse effects as a small section is removed, not much. Considering the fact that uvula is not a vestigial body part, side effects are evident after getting it removed. The question is severity of the adverse effects, of which some are manifested lifelong. There are also complications related to the surgical procedure, such as bleeding, inflammation, infections, sore throat and drainage of fluids to nose.

After the removal, there is no longer a separation between the nose and throat regions, while performing common activities, like swallowing food, breathing and speaking. Thus, nasal voice and eating problems (nasal regurgitation) are common side effects of uvula removal. Since uvula plays a crucial part in sound production mechanism, one of the major side effects is permanent change in the voice. After getting it removed, the person finds difficulty in verbalizing words that have uvular 'r' phoneme in them.

Another reported side effect of uvula removal is constricting airways leading to the nose and throat. As a consequence, making audible sound during sleep and sleep apnea are manifested after removing uvula. Also, some people who have undergone surgery for uvula removal complain of breathing problems. This is specially due to scarring of tissues that result in tightening the adjacent parts. Other negative effects for removing uvula are nasal drainage and pain in the incision sites.

In a nutshell, uvula removal side effects are obvious, and some of them cannot be avoided. Partial uvula removal should be conducted as the last option for treatment, when other therapeutic intervention do not work. It makes sense, if the benefits of surgical treatment outweighs the probable side effects and complications. Thus, the effectiveness of this approach depends on the existing condition. The doctor is the best reference person to take guidance from, for comparing the positive and negative aspects of removing uvula.
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