Learning About The Pillar Procedure
The pillar procedure is a minor surgery that can relieve snoring that occurs on a regular basis. Patients who have mild to moderate sleep apnea due to obstruction can find relief with this procedure. Mild to moderate sleep apnea results from muscles that relax in the back of the throat. This procedure places small rods in the soft palate. When the tissues heal around the implants, which are less than an inch in length, they will stiffen the soft palate and relax the vibrating tissue in that region. The procedure can be done with a local anesthesia in your ENT doctor’s office.
Reasons To Have The Pillar Procedure
There are two main reasons to have this procedure. One, to relieve snoring, and two, to relieve symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Your snoring may bother your sleep, or it might be a nuisance to your partner. Sleep apnea can cause fatigue during the day and other health-related issues. You may try other avenues first before you move on to the pillar procedure. Your ENT might recommend less invasive solutions like a CPAP machine that you would wear at night to prevent airflow blockage while you sleep. If this doesn’t work well enough for you, the surgical procedure might be a good alternative.
Avoid The Pillar Procedure If…
The procedure provides great relief for many people, but it will not work for those who have severe obstructive sleep apnea. It is also not recommended for those who are significantly overweight. In those cases, your ENT doctor will recommend other treatment options.
What Happens After The Procedure
If you are a good candidate and you decide to proceed with the treatment, you might have a sore throat or difficulty swallowing once the rods are in place. These side effects are temporary and generally resolve on their own within a week. Infection is a possibility with any surgery and you will want to watch for fever.
Preparing For The Pillar Procedure
You likely won’t have to do anything before you show up to your ENT doctor’s office for the procedure. In a few cases, you might have to take antibiotics before the procedure to prevent infections. The procedure is performed with you leaning back, like you are in a dental chair, and takes only about 30 minutes. You will receive an anesthetic injected into your soft palate, which could sting. Once you are numb, the ENT doctor places the three implants.
After The Procedure
Once the implants are in, you will sit for a few moments to ensure you don’t have a lot of swelling or bleeding. You may get an anti-inflammatory pain medication to keep swelling down and to help relieve pain after the anesthetic wears away. You may also receive an antiseptic rinse to use for a few days to prevent any infections. Once the details are worked out, you can resume your normal activities, including driving and eating certain foods.
Pillar Procedure Results
This procedure can effectively treat snoring and mild sleep apnea, but it doesn’t work for everyone. The best candidates will have the best results. It can work immediately after the procedure, but it can also take up to a few months for your soft palate to harden and for the procedure to take full effect.