What would happen if your uvula were cut off?

Would food go up your nose more easily? Would coughing or sneezing be different? Would breathing be affected?

My uvula was removed during a UPPP surgery for sleep apnea.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty

Other than helping with my sleep apnea for a few years, the removal of my uvula has not had any impact on my life.
Btw, I am among the majority of people that a UPPP surgery did not help for the long term.

I had mine removed during major reconstructive surgery in my nose and throat for sleep apnea as well about 6 years ago. The removal of the uvula part is called uvuloplasty and it is a major surgery by itself and recovery is a big deal especially when combined with the other surgeries they usually do at the same time. It is supposed to take 2 weeks to a month to recover from it but I was mobile and able to eat in about 3 days. It didn’t cure sleep apnea 100% for me either but it did help and I don’t regret it.

There isn’t any real downside to not having a uvula although it seems easier to stick your finger down your throat without gagging. The decision to remove it shouldn’t be taken lightly but, after recovery, it is an invisible repair and doesn’t cause any problems or warrant much notice.

Why do we have a uvula then?

I’ve known a couple people who’ve had their uvulas removed for sleep apnea. It caused a very, very slight change in their voice which not everyone perceived, and they slept better.

Other than that, I got nuthin’

I kept my uvula and got a CPAP machine instead. It has its own problems, but on balance, probably the right move.

When a doctor uses a laser to burn away your uvula, it raises a cloud of thick black smoke that smells exactly like barbecue. Which I thought was neat, but the doctor had no sense of humor. (For the record, if an operation doesn’t cure your problem don’t go in afterward and say “the operation was a success but the patient died.”)

Delicious charred meat smells were the only thing I took away from the operation, which also removed part of the palate, making it a uvulopalatoplasty. Did it help my sleep apnea? Not a bit. So why was it recommended? Because it was lasers, baby! Lasers are cool! Hi-tech! There isn’t a doctor alive who doesn’t want to burn away parts of your body with a laser! Go ahead, ask them. (But find one with a sense of humor first.)

I had my uvula removed during my tonsillectomy last year. It was fairly large and would often get irritated and inflamed. I’m glad it’s gone, but during recovery it was the part of my throat that was most painful when I swallowed.

There are times I’d love to get rid of my uvula. Usually after a night of drinking where I pass out face up, and the snoring absolutely destroys the thing. I get to spend the next 24 hours or so with a swollen uvula (to those who’ve never had the pleasure: imagine a dangling finger-sized thing in the back of your throat that you can bring halfway up the back of your tongue. And it hurts. A lot).

you’re the only other person i’ve heard of that this happens to. At last i’m not alone. choking on your uvula is not fun

Because it doesn’t kill us before we reproduce?

I’ve never heard any benefit attributed to the little sucker. It gives kids something to ask about, though. What is that thing. . . .

Lots of languages have uvular consonants, such as the French r and the Irish gh. I imagine the lack of a uvula could give rise to a speech impediment in those languages.

I’ve never had a swollen uvula, that I can think of, but I often get a swollen soft palate when I get nasal congestion and have to sleep with my mouth open. Which also results in your uvula dangling waaaaaay lower than it should be. For me it doesn’t hurt (unless I already have a sore throat), it’s just in the way and gag-inducing.

Yes, but that does not explain why a uvula would have evolved. If we didn’t have one then the French and Irish languages (and any others that depend on the uvula) would simply not have evolved to use those sounds. Other languages (English, presumably, for one) seem to get by perfectly well without them.

… all women should have their uvulas removed.

And to everyone who is asking why we have one- isn’t it obvious?

It helps with our gag reflex. Which I’m pretty sure is important to a species.

No, you’re not! :frowning:

CMC fnord!
Snorer and sleep apnea sufferer, 89.5 AHI pre-CPAP. :eek:

Really? because it does have an important benefit and 2 uses in language.
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…bolding mine.
[URL=“www.buzzle.com/articles/uvula-function.html”]Cite](http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/www.buzzle.com/articles/uvula-function.html)

To pierce?

It’ll behoove ya’, to care for your uvula!

True. I was posting in reply to the question in the title and the OP: “What would happen if your uvula were cut off?”