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July 25, 1986

Popular, Yes, But Jury Still Out on Apnea Surgery

JAMA. 1986;256(4):439-441. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380040013004

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SINCE 1981, when Japanese surgeon Shiro Fujita, MD, and colleagues described their version of the procedure, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) has become an increasingly popular—but far from universally accepted—option for treating patients who suffer from snoring and/or severe obstructive sleep apnea (JAMA [MEDICAL NEWS] 1985;254:1275-1284).

The National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Md, estimates that 5000 people underwent this type of surgery during 1983 and 1984. The charge for the surgery itself varies from $1000 to $2000 across the country, according to one surgeon familiar with the procedure; this does not include the cost of hospitalization for up to three days or other charges.

Surgeons using this procedure report widely different success rates, ranging from 23% to 75%. At the Triological Society Spring Meeting in Palm Beach, Fla, surgeons from across the country tried to assess the meaning of such disparate results.

One conclusion, noted by Roger L. Crumley, MD, a