March 23, 2010

Mucus in Back of Nose/Throat After UPPP or Uvula Removal

I have recently seen a rash of patients who have a presenting symptom of a sense of mucus or phlegm buildup in the back of the mouth/nose right behind the soft palate after surgery involving uvula removal. Such surgery may include the uvula alone or UPPP (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) for obstructive sleep apnea.

Often in these cases, this problem with mucus and phlegm is due to a very small velopharyngeal insufficiency. This is a rare problem where there is a small opening between the palate and nose when swallowing causing a little bit of saliva to "regurgitate" into the nose. If the opening is very large, liquids and even food will come out the nose when swallowing. If it is very small, mucus/phlegmy sensation will be present localized to the area right behind the soft palate.

This problem, if present, can be corrected by a simple procedure called nasopharyngoplasty.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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