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 Uvulopalatoplasty and the clarinet
Author: Wicked Good 2017
Date:   2007-08-28 20:25

Has anyone here ever undergone an outpatient surgical procedure called "uvulopalatoplasty," to remove "excess" throat tissue? I have a fairly severe case of sleep apnea, and all exams and tests thus far indicate this to be a likely remedy for the root cause by both my pulomonary and ENT specialists.

I'm not asking for medical advice (and yes, CPAP was attempted but failed), but am interested in whether anyone here has had this procedure done, and if so, did it affect your playing in any way? How long was it until playing at a high level again was achieved? Any lasting ill effects?

Thanks in advance. I have a feeling I'll be spending plenty of time on the WebMD website shortly.


There are only 10 kinds of people in the world:
Those who understand binary math, and those who don't.

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 Re: Uvulopalatoplasty and the clarinet
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2007-08-28 21:17

Sleep apnea runs in my family. My cousin had uvulopalatoplasty, which eliminated the apnea. I asked him about it, since I was having trouble with the CPAP, and he said that even several years after the surgery he had trouble doing things that required air pressure. He couldn't blow up a balloon, for example, without leakage through his nose. That convinced me not to have the operation.

Strangely, I found that the CPAP "ramp up" feature was worse than useless. If I fell asleep at low pressure, I was awakened by the apnea before the pressure increased, and the ramping-up change in pressure woke me up. I now turn it on full pressure to start and have no trouble. I also found the mask uncomfortable and am much better off with the nasal pillows.

There are several things short of surgery to try. For example, there are mouthpieces that pull your jaw slightly forward, which clears the airway. Also, there are Bi-PAP machines that stop the pressure when you exhale, and apnea-sensing machines that continuously adjust the pressure to the lowest level that prevents apnea.

At least for me, I wasn't willing to risk losing the ability to play the clarinet.

If you decide to have the surgery, you should get at least a consultation from a doctor who treats wind players and ask about preserving the ability to blow with considerable pressure.

Good luck.

Ken Shaw

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 Re: Uvulopalatoplasty and the clarinet
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2007-08-28 21:38

Here in Switzerland there's a doctor who developed a wire brooch that prevents the velum from fluttering. Results are promising, an it's a scalpel-free solution.

(no affiliation whatsoever)


Reply To Message
 Re: Uvulopalatoplasty and the clarinet
Author: Wicked Good 2017
Date:   2007-08-28 23:21

Thanks, all. Great information.

There are only 10 kinds of people in the world:
Those who understand binary math, and those who don't.

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