The Pillar Procedure is a simple surgery designed to treat snoring and sleep apnea. It involves placing polyester implants into the soft palate to offer structural support and reduce tissue vibrations that cause snoring.
Habitual snoring affects an estimated 25 percent of Americans. Not only is it a nuisance for both you and your bed partner, but it can interfere with sleep and is often the sign of a serious condition called obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in your mouth, tongue and throat relax, collapsing and blocking the upper airway. This causes you to stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night, leading to a drop in your blood oxygen levels. It can cause serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
An estimated 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. Many try a variety of snoring treatments, without luck. For those individuals who can’t use or don’t benefit from continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the pillar procedure may be a viable alternative.
During this minimally invasive procedure, which is performed in a surgeon’s office and takes about 20 minutes, a topical anesthetic is applied to the soft palate to numb it. The surgeon then injects the area with a local anesthetic and inserts three tiny implants into the junction of the hard and soft palates. As tissue heals, the implants help support and stiffen the soft palate, reducing relaxation and vibration of the tissues and preventing obstruction of the upper airway.
The Pillar Procedure is safe and effective, with few complications or side effects. Afterward, you may be described anti-inflammatory pain medication and antibiotics to prevent infection, but you should be able to resume normal activities the same day. You may experience a sore throat, swelling, difficulty swallowing, but these symptoms are temporary and should disappear within a few weeks.
The Pillar Procedure isn’t for everybody. Results vary depending on the severity of your sleep apnea. Speak with your doctor to see if you are a good candidate for this type of surgery.
Call ENT Associates of Santa Barbara at (805) 964-6926 for more information or to schedule an appointment.