In the Pillar Procedure, small implants are placed in the soft palate to induce scarring and create a more rigid, less floppy soft palate [FIGURE 1]. This increased rigidity counters the floppiness that often contributes to snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. The Pillar Procedure is well-tolerated, and is performed under local anesthesia.
The procedure takes around 20 minutes to perform in the clinic setting with most patients. Several studies have shown a significant decrease in patient snoring intensity with associated decreases in daytime sleepiness and significant improvements in lifestyle after patients underwent the Pillar Procedure. Other studies have demonstrated patient and bed partner satisfaction with the reduction in snoring after the Pillar Procedure at 80% or higher. Studies of patients with OSA demonstrate approximately 80% of patients with a reduction in their AHI (sleep index), and results were sustained at one year after palatal implants/Pillar Procedure. Another study has documented significant improvement in snoring and sleep apnea with insertion of palatal implants in patients who had failed surgical intervention with prior uvulapalatopharyngoplasty.