Snoring is a big problem for many people. Snoring disrupts your sleep, the sleep of your partner, and even other family members in the home, occasionally leading to arguments and daytime sleepiness. Most home remedies like breathing strips and sleeping on your side don’t work. Luckily, the pillar procedure is a new, minimally invasive surgery designed to reduce snoring, resulting in a quiet and better night’s sleep.
What Is the Pillar Procedure?
The pillar procedure involves a surgeon implanting tiny polyester rods into the soft palate, which is the fleshy area at the back and on the roof of the mouth. The rods, which measure 18 mm long by 1.5 mm in diameter, stiffen the soft palate as the area heals, minimizing the relaxation and vibration of the soft palate that causes snoring.
Why Consider the Pillar Procedure?
If you snore on a regular basis, you might have obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which the muscles in your tongue, throat, and mouth relax too much and block your airway during sleep. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your breathing during sleep becomes too shallow, causing sharp drops in your blood oxygen level, and leading to health conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure. Other symptoms of this condition include:
- Frequently waking up in the night
- Choking or gasping for air during sleep
- Daytime drowsiness
The pillar procedure is a new, minimally invasive way to achieve the following:
- Reduce Snoring
- Reduce the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea
- Alleviate snoring for patients who don’t respond well to CPAP therapy
Who Makes a Good Candidate for the Pillar Procedure?
You may be an ideal candidate for the pillar procedure if you frequently snore, have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, and are at a healthy weight. The pillar procedure is not recommended for those who are overweight or obese or have a severe case of obstructive sleep apnea.
What Happens During the Pillar Procedure?
The procedure usually takes place in an otolaryngologist’s (ear, nose, and throat) office. The procedure, which lasts about 30 minutes, begins with the patient lying back in a chair similar to a visit to the dentist. During the procedure, the doctor will do the following:
- Apply a topical anesthesia to the soft palate
- Inject a numbing agent to further anesthetize the area
- Carefully position and insert the first implant
- Insert several more implants as needed to treat the area
After the procedure, you’ll stay in the office for a while for observation to ensure there’s no bleeding or swelling. Once you’re released, you may resume your normal activities and eat normally the same day. To aid in the healing process, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication for pain and antibiotics with an antiseptic oral rinse to avoid infection.
What Are the Benefits of the Pillar Procedure?
Most patients (about 80 percent) who undergo the pillar procedure notice the following benefits:
- Significant reduction in snoring
- Effective treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea
- Significant reduction in daytime sleepiness
- Happier bed partner
Because the pillar procedure is so new, studies are still underway on who the best candidates for the procedure are and how long the results will last.
If snoring is disrupting your life and you’d like to find out if you’re a candidate for the pillar procedure, schedule a consultation today with the skilled team at eos sleep in NYC. Our team treats snoring and obstructive sleep apnea in addition to all disorders of the ears, nose, and throat.