Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty

Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) is a technique that uses lasers to perform surgery for some sleep-related breathing disorders. It may be used if you have:

  • Loud, habitual snoring. Research indicates, though, that snoring may return, usually within 2 years after the surgery.1
  • Upper airway resistance syndrome , in which nighttime breathing is obstructed but does not actually stop. Symptoms include feeling sleepy during the day, snoring a lot, and waking up frequently during the night.
  • Mild obstructive sleep apnea, which is stopped or slowed breathing during sleep.

There is debate about whether the laser procedure is an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) has not shown any major benefit for people with sleep apnea.2 And problems swallowing and voice changes are common side effects from LAUP.

LAUP is not approved by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to treat sleep apnea.3


  1. Malhotra A, White DP (2002). Obstructive sleep apnea. Lancet, 360(9328): 237–245.
  2. Franklin KA, et al. (2009). Effects and side-effects of surgery for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea: A systematic review. Sleep, 32(1): 27–36.
  3. Littner M, et al. (2001). Practice parameters for the use of laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty: An update for 2000. Sleep, 24(5): 603–619.

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