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Palate Surgery

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Palate surgery corrects obstruction (blockage) in the area behind the soft-palate located in the roof of the mouth, that causes sleep-disordered breathing, such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

Palate surgery makes room in the upper throat to improve breathing while you sleep. There are different causes for palate obstruction, including structural and inflammatory conditions that can happen at the same time. Types of palate surgery include:

  • Tonsillectomy: removes the tonsils, or the structures in the sides of the throat
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): removes excess tissue in the upper throat
  • Surgically-assisted rapid palatal expansion: widens the arch in the upper jaw (called the maxilla)

Visit with a sleep medicine specialist at the University of Miami Health System to find out if palate surgery is right for you.

Why Choose UHealth?

Experienced pediatric and adult sleep surgeons. You can be confident your surgery is performed by board-certified pediatric or adult sleep medicine surgeons. Whatever the procedure, you receive the right care for the best outcomes.

Advanced techniques for sleep disorders involving the palate. Our sleep surgeons use less aggressive approaches in uvulopalatopharyngoplasty for snoring or obstructive sleep apnea. Rather than removing the uvula completely, we reposition tissue to maximize air flow, and reduce the risk for surgical complications.

Combined surgeries to make life easier for you. We understand the various causes of sleep-disordered breathing problems and perform expert procedures at the same time whenever possible. Some palate surgeries can be performed with hypopharyngeal surgery for obstruction higher in the airway system.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.

Who is a Candidate?


Palate surgery may be an option for snoring or obstructive sleep apnea in children and adults when other therapies do not work, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or medicines. Qualified candidates for palate surgery have a healthy weight, and sleep-disordered breathing problems caused by:

  • Enlarged tonsils that block the airway
  • Long uvula, or the soft finger-like structure that hangs in the back of the throat
  • Narrow palate, or roof of the mouth

What to Expect


Tonsillectomy

Tonsillectomy for obstructive sleep apnea involves removing the soft tissue pads located on the sides of the throat to make more room for air to flow. The surgeon uses a blade, heat, or targeted energy to remove or destroy the tissue. A tonsillectomy is performed as outpatient surgery (no overnight hospital stay) and requires up to a week to recover.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty involves different procedures used in combination to make more room in the back of the throat. The surgeon may reposition the palate muscles, and/or remove enlarged tonsils or adenoids (tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy).

This type of palate surgery involves a variety of techniques, including targeted energy to scar the tissue to shrink and tighten it during healing, and repositioning the soft palate by stitching tissue to the sides of the throat. UPPP is an outpatient procedure (no overnight hospital stay). It takes a week to recover, with a return to normal activity within two weeks.

Surgically Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion

Surgically assisted rapid palatal expansion improves airflow by correcting a narrow palate from plates, or bones, in the roof of the mouth that fused together incorrectly during development.

It involves two procedures. First, the surgeon inserts a custom orthopedic expanding device to stabilize the upper jaw. Then, the surgeon separates the jaw, aligns it to the lower jaw, and adjusts the expanding device to keep it in place.

Surgically assisted rapid expansion is an outpatient surgery (no overnight hospital stay) that requires a two-week recovery. The expander will stay in place for three months. Once removed, orthodontic treatment will fix the gap in the teeth caused by separation.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry First Health PPO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • DIKLA
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • EHN PPO
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • FCCI WC
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Seasons Hospice
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care