Is the Pillar Procedure Right for You?

Those who suffer from chronic snoring, or even from mild to moderate sleep apnea, can often find relief through the Pillar Procedure. In this in-office procedure using local anesthetics, small polyester rods less than an inch in length are inserted into the soft palate. Over time, the tissue around the inserts will harden and thus help prevent vibrations of the palate that cause snoring and disrupt sleep.

Chronic snoring is not only a nuisance, but it can also interfere with your own sleep and your bed partner’s sleep as well. If it’s a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), then it represents an even more serious threat because apnea literally means “stop breathing.” The OSA sufferer normally undergoes repeated cessations of breathing throughout the night, which wreaks havoc with one’s rest and rejuvenation. Untreated, apnea can result in hypertension, heart disease and even stroke.

So if you snore, or have been told you snore more than infrequently, you should get a sleep evaluation to determine the cause. If it is related to sleep apnea, then the Pillar Procedure might be called for, although in many cases, the doctor may recommend a CPAP — continuous positive air pressure — machine and mask. The problem with many people and CPAP, however, is that they find it uncomfortable to wear the mask. That’s why the CPAP has been likened to Darth Vader, who wore a mask in order to breathe.

Generally, there are no complications from the FDA-approved Pillar Procedure, though you may feel a sore throat for a while or have to get over the feeling that there’s suddenly a foreign body in your soft palate. Also, there is no real preparation for the procedure unless your doctor puts you on antibiotics as a precaution (though, again, generally there are no complications or side effects).

According to Medtronic (creators of The Pillar Procedure), clinical studies have shown that:

  • Patients experienced a significant decrease in snoring intensity
  • Bed partner satisfaction has been documented at 80% or better
  • Patients experienced less daytime sleepiness
  • Approximately 80% of patients demonstrated improvement in their sleep apnea

Snoring Center physicians have performed more Pillar Procedures than any other practice in the country. This simple, effective procedure can be performed in as little as 20 minutes, right in our office. And most patients return to normal eating and activities immediately.

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