The Pillar Procedure Sleep Apnea Treatment

A breakthrough therapy from the company Restore Medical gives sleep apnea patients yet another option for relief from their symptoms. The initial results are promising. This procedure is doing well in comparison with more conventional treatment options such as the surgical laser assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) and uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP).

Up to now the most popular form of treatment, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), this may begin changing in the near future as patients begin switching to the Pillar Procedure. Although an effective form of treatment, many patients dislike wearing a mask while they sleep. Still others experience noise problems due to the machine, feelings of claustrophobia and the leakage of air.

Less Invasive Option

The Pillar Procedure is gaining in popularity because it is not as invasive as some of the other surgical procedures and it doesnt take up too much of a patient and doctors time (on average it requires one quick visit to the physicians office). The Pillar Procedure has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its willingness to treat both cases of snoring as well as sleep apnea and it is also clinically proven. In tests done utilizing the Pillar Procedure approximately eighty percent of sufferers noted a positive improvement in their nightly sleep apnea patterns. Many noted that episodes were dramatically decreased.

One reason for sleep apnea is that the “soft palate vibrates during snoring and can block the airway.” When it comes to the Pillar Procedure three tiny inserts are placed into the soft palate to offer a sufficient amount of support. The inserts are not visible to the human eye and they do not cause problems either with speech or with swallowing. These reasons alone make the Pillar Procedure a viable option.

How It Works

The Pillar Procedure deals with the soft palate and calls for the injection of three tiny woven inserts into the soft palate that are geared at decreasing the vibrations that bring about snoring as well as prevent the soft palate from interfering with, or blocking the flow of air. Structural support is encouraged by way of the inserts and over time they blend into the natural tissue structure for continued support.

At the time of the procedure the patients soft palate is given a local anesthetic to numb it and then the doctor goes ahead with implanting the inserts by way of a special medical tool. In some cases a mild painkiller will be prescribed to the patient for use if there is discomfort after the anesthetic wears off. This procedure does not even have to be done at the hospital; it can be done right in the doctors office.

The material that the Pillar inserts consist of has been used in other implantable medical devices for an excess of fifty years. Most patients report little if any discomfort and there is a short recuperation period. Many people return to their regular eating habits as well as their regular activities very quickly, some as soon as the same day or the day preceding the procedure.

Minimal Risks

The risks involved with the Pillar Procedure are very minimal. In fact only one percent of those treated with this method ever suffer any adverse effects. As well if so desired, the procedure can be reversed. It is important to be aware that the effectiveness of the procedure depends on a number of factors which include the size of a patients tonsils, their tongue position and their body mass.