Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being. An estimated 70 million Americans, however, suffer from sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea that keep them – and their bed partners – from getting a good night’s sleep.
Many snoring treatments can be ineffective or invasive, and they may yield results that are less than ideal.
Unlike other surgical snoring and sleep apnea treatments, however, the Pillar Procedure is a simple snoring and sleep apnea office treatment that uses minimally invasive implants that are inserted into your soft palate.
In this blog, the specialists at the Atlanta Snoring Institute will explain what you need to know when considering pillar implants.
What are the causes of snoring and sleep apnea?
The soft palate is made of muscle and connective tissue and is located at the back of the roof of your mouth. These tissues can vibrate as airflow becomes turbulent, resulting in snoring. When the tissue collapses and/or blocks the upper airway, it can cause obstructive sleep apnea.
What is involved in the Pillar Procedure?
During the Pillar Procedure, 5 very small polyester implants are placed into the soft palate through a small delivery tool without the need for incisions or stitches.
Over the next few weeks and months, the implants, together with the body’s response to the implants, stiffen and add structural support to the soft palate. This structural support and stiffening reduces the vibration of the tissue, which can cause snoring. It also prevents the collapse of tissue that can obstruct the airway and cause obstructive sleep apnea.
The Pillar Procedure can be performed in approximately 30 minutes during one short visit to the physician’s office. It lets you avoid multiple visits as well as the added expense of an operating room. Local anesthetic is used, and you should be able to resume your regular activities and eat normally later that same day.
What are pillar implants?
Pillar implants are woven from polyester material that has been safely used for more than 50 years in implantable medical products. Each implant is preloaded into a specially designed, single-use sterile delivery tool that allows the implant to be placed without making an incision.
The procedure doesn’t require the removal of any soft palate tissue, and you should not be able to see or feel the implants in your soft palate. Discomfort is minimal, and the implants don’t interfere with speech or swallowing.
What are the benefits of the Pillar Procedure?
Some patients report an immediate reduction in snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. However, it may take from several weeks to up to three months to realize the full benefit of the Pillar Procedure. That’s because as tissue hardens around the implants over time, your soft palate may become more rigid. This makes it less likely to vibrate or collapse and result in snoring or sleep apnea.
If your soft palate is contributing to your snoring or obstructive sleep apnea, the Pillar Procedure may be a good option for you.
Clinical studies of this procedure have shown that:
- Patients reported a significant decrease in the intensity of their snoring.
- Bed partners also reported an 80% or higher level of satisfaction with snoring reduction after the procedure.
- Approximately 80% of patients demonstrated a reduction in their AHI. This number reflects the severity of your sleep apnea symptoms. The results were still as positive a year after the procedure.
Patients experienced significant improvements in their lifestyle after the Pillar Procedure, including a reduction in daytime sleepiness. The effects of sleep apnea can be quite serious, including an increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke, so an effective treatment can greatly improve the overall quality of your life.
Where can I find pillar implant treatment in Atlanta?
At the Atlanta Snoring Institute, our practice is the leading provider of the Pillar Procedure in the region. We perform more of this procedure than any other practice in Georgia.
Our physicians are among Atlanta’s finest board-certified otolaryngologists (ear, nose & throat doctors) with a special interest in the management and treatment of snoring, sleep apnea and other related conditions.
To learn more about the Pillar Procedure and to learn whether you are a good candidate for pillar implants to treat your sleep apnea and snoring, you can get started by filling out the appointment request form right on this page or by contacting our office today. We have convenient practice locations in Buckhead, Fayetteville, and Stockbridge.