Learning About the Pillar Procedure
If you (or your partner) snore on a regular basis, it could be sleep apnea that is causing the noise to occur. You may not feel well rested in the morning, either because you are snoring, or your partner is. Either way, there are sleep treatments that can help alleviate the symptoms and lead to a better night of sleep. Take the Pillar Procedure, for example. Consider this treatment as an option with your doctor.
What is the Pillar Procedure?
This procedure is a minor surgery that can help relieve snoring and treat obstructive sleep apnea in its mild to moderate forms. The muscles in the back of the throat relax when you sleep, which can cause sleep apnea and snoring. This procedure places small polyester rods into the soft palate. They are less than an inch in length and allow tissue around the rods to stiffen the palate as they heal, which can then reduce the vibration of tissue in that area. The procedure can be done right in the doctor’s office with local anesthesia.
Why the Pillar Procedure?
This procedure might be suggested if you snore a lot and are bothered by it—or are bothering your partner. It can also help you relieve mild or moderate sleep apnea, which can lead to being tired often. For sleep apnea, the first line of defense is often a CPAP machine. These devices use a face mask to deliver air pressure to the airway, preventing blockage from occurring. But when nonsurgical treatments don’t seem to be working, the Pillar Procedure could be your best option.
Preparing for the Procedure
If you and your doctor decide to move forward with the Pillar Procedure, there’s really nothing you have to do to prepare. If you have certain conditions or are prone to infections, your doctor may have you take some antibiotics before the appointment. Otherwise, there aren’t generally any restrictions beforehand.
During the Procedure
You can expect the procedure to take 30 minutes or less. A topical anesthetic is applied to numb the area. Then, you get an injection with local anesthetic. Once that kicks in, the implants are positioned and inserted.
After the Procedure
You may want to sit for a few minutes in the doctor’s office to assess any bleeding or swelling, but you should be able to go about your normal day and even eat normally later in the day. You may get anti-inflammatory or pain medications prescribed to keep swelling down, and you will most likely use an antiseptic rinse for a few days to prevent infection.
The Results You’ll See From the Pillar Procedure
This procedure can work right away to treat snoring and mild sleep apnea, but it also doesn’t work for everyone. Your ENT doctor at Breathe Clear Institute can help you assess whether or not you are a good candidate for the surgery. While the results can be immediate, it may also take time for the soft palate to harden. The full effects may not be felt for a few months.