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When looking at the throat with the mouth open, a person may notice a small hanging piece of tissue located around the center back of the mouth. This is the uvula, and if a person makes noise or even breathes hard enough, the tissue may sway or vibrate in response. Removing the uvula is called uvulectomy and this procedure can be viewed in two ways. As part of western medicine to address conditions like snoring, it may be considered a medically acceptable treatment, but as part of traditional medicine to cure illnesses such as sore throat, it is considered extremely dangerous.
Under most circumstances in western medicine the uvulectomy is viewed as a possible means of lessening snoring problems or eliminating issues having to do with sleep apnea. To reduce possible vibration in the throat, sometimes tonsils, adenoids and uvula are removed. While some people report success with uvulectomy, others do not find the complete cure they need. Getting the opinion of several respected otolaryngologists is advisable. It should be noted that many times this treatment is considered optional, and thus not covered by insurance companies.
The basic procedure uses medication to numb the back of the throat, and often uses a cutting tool that seals or cauterizes the wounds while cutting. Unless people have other procedures done with uvulectomy, they are fully conscious. Surgery can be done in a doctor’s office and people might be home within an hour after this small operation.
It does take about two weeks to fully heal, and food intake may be restricted by type or temperature during the first few days. Uvulectomy may result in a significantly sore throat, and sometimes eating or talking is a little different at first. These sensations tend to go away. Within a few weeks it’s fairly easy to tell how effective the surgery has been in reducing total snoring. Effectiveness of the surgery tends to be a judgment made by sleeping partners.
While uvulectomy in western medicine is a possibly effective treatment for snoring, in other parts of the world, it may be employed as part of traditional medicine. There are clear differences. Traditional medical practices tend not to be sterile, they may be based in ritual, and they have less proven success rate. In particular, there is great concern about this surgery when practiced to treat sore throat because sore throat may stem from bacterial infection. Cutting with no form of cautery makes it quite possible for massive sepsis to occur quickly, and can prove fatal.
Additional concern exists when uvulectomy is thought unnecessary. It could be prescribed for conditions that have no connection to the throat or nose. Even when these surgeries don’t result in infection or illness, western medicine looks askance at them as unnecessary. On the other hand, there are some that feel uvula removal for snoring is relatively unnecessary too, unless medical problems are resulting from it.