Many people with sleep apnea end up taking needless risks with their health. Rather than dealing with a bulky CPAP mask and the discomfort that comes with it, they end up doing nothing treatment-wise. Unfortunately, there are plenty of individuals with sleep apnea who aren’t aware of the alternatives to CPAP that could help them get the restorative, obstruction-free sleep that they need – all without wearing a mask. One such alternative to CPAP that’s offered by the Snoring and Sleep Institute of Atlanta is the Pillar Procedure.
In this blog, Atlanta-based snoring and sleep apnea specialist, Dr. Pradeep Sinha, will explain what the Pillar Procedure does, which patients may be good candidates for it, as well as its advantages as an alternative to CPAP.
What is the Pillar Procedure?
The Pillar Procedure is an alternative to CPAP that targets snoring and sleep apnea symptoms specifically caused by the soft palate. Soft palate tissue is one common factor that contributes to airway obstruction at night, particularly if you have an elongated or floppy soft palate. The procedure aims to stiffen and stabilize this soft palate tissue and this is done through the insertion of small woven implants in the palate. After the implants have been placed in a quick procedure performed right in the doctor’s office, the inserts gradually become incorporated into the structure of the mouth. While you won’t be able to see or feel them, the Pillar inserts will provide key support to the palate tissue, preventing it from collapsing and partially covering the airway during sleep.
Who Can Benefit from the Pillar Procedure?
Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea or snoring due to an elongated soft palate are excellent candidates for the Pillar Procedure. In addition, this procedure is often recommended for those who have a problem complying with CPAP mask treatment. This is because the procedure may eliminate the need for any additional treatment once the implants have been inserted and are incorporated into the upper mouth structure. The best way to determine whether you have OSA or snoring caused by soft palate issues is to see a specialist who can examine your airway.
What are the Advantages of the Pillar Procedure?
There are several advantages to undergoing the Pillar Procedure as an alternative to CPAP:
- Minimally invasive – A small tool is used to insert the mesh implants and local anesthetic is all that is necessary to perform the procedure.
- Performed in the office – This procedure can be performed right in the doctor’s office in less than an hour. There’s no need to go to the hospital or a surgery center. You could, in essence, have the procedure performed during your lunch hour and go back to work the same day.
- Quick recovery – The majority of Pillar Procedure patients are able to resume normal activity, including eating, the same day as treatment.
- No surgical removal of tissue – Because there is no cutting or removal of tissue, your risk for infection is greatly reduced and there is minimal discomfort involved.
- High levels of patient satisfaction – Eighty percent of the bed partners of those who undergo this alternative to CPAP report high levels of satisfaction in the reduction of their partner’s snoring.
- Long-term solution – This procedure is a one-time solution that can produce long-term symptom improvement for many patients.
What Can I Expect Afterwards?
The full effects of the Pillar Procedure aren’t immediately seen because it takes time for the implants to become fully incorporated in the soft palate. However, most patients experience a significant decrease in snoring intensity within a few weeks. For others, the full benefit is not seen for a couple of months. Along with a decrease in snoring, patients report less daytime sleepiness, better mental functioning and an overall improvement in quality of life.
Find Out if You’re a Candidate for Pillar Procedure as an Alternative to CPAP
If you or a loved one has tried CPAP mask therapy and found it inconvenient or uncomfortable, you are not alone. The good news is that you have other treatment options available to you. Contact the Snoring and Sleep Institute of Atlanta for your evaluation or get started by filling out the schedule appointment form right on this page.
The first step to getting the restful and restorative sleep that you need begins with a consultation. Get in touch with us today to find out whether the Pillar Procedure is a viable alternative to CPAP for you.