Pillar Procedure - Atlanta Institute for ENT

Pillar Procedure

Pillar Procedure is a simple, safe, minimally invasive treatment for snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Unlike other painful and invasive surgical procedures, the Pillar Procedure is a simple treatment that your doctor can perform in a single short office visit or in combination with other procedures. More than 30,000 people worldwide have been treated with the Pillar Procedure. Atlanta Institute for ENT physicians have treated patients with the Pillar Procedure since 2006. 

During the Pillar Procedure, three tiny polyester implants are placed into the soft palate. Over time, the implants, together with the body’s natural fibrotic response, add structural support to and stiffen the soft palate. This structural support and stiffening reduce the tissue vibration that can cause snoring and the palatal tissue collapse that can obstruct the upper airway and cause obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). 

The Pillar Procedure can be performed in approximately 20 minutes during one short visit to the physician’s office. Because tissue is not removed, discomfort is minimal. Some patients use an over-the-counter pain reliever after the procedure and most are able to resume normal activities and diet the same day. 

Each tiny, highly engineered and precisely woven Pillar implant is approximately 18 mm (0.7 inches) in length and has an outer diameter of approximately 2 mm (0.08 inches). The implants are woven from a polyester material that has been used for more than 50 years in implantable medical products. Each Pillar implant is preloaded into a specially designed, single use, sterile delivery tool. The physician uses three separate delivery tools to place three implants into the muscle of the soft palate. The Pillar Procedure does not require the removal of any soft palate tissue. You should not be able to see or feel the implants in your soft palate. Minimal swelling or discomfort are expected for a day or two after the procedure. 

Some patients report a noticeable improvement within weeks. It usually takes up to three months to realize the full benefit of the Pillar Procedure. If your soft palate is contributing to your snoring or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the Pillar Procedure may be a good option for you. Your doctor will examine your upper airway to determine if you are a good candidate for the Pillar Procedure. 

Clinical studies of the Pillar Procedure have shown that:

  • Patients experienced a significant decrease in snoring intensity. 1,2
  • Bed partner satisfaction with the reduction in snoring after the Pillar Procedure has been documented at 80% or higher. 1,2
  • Approximately 80% of patients demonstrated a reduction in their AHI, and results were sustained at one year after the Pillar Procedure. 3
  • Patients experienced less daytime sleepiness and significant improvements in lifestyle after the Pillar Procedure. 4
  1. Maurer JT, Verse T, Stuck BA, Hormann K, Hein G. Palatal Implants for Primary Snoring: Short-Term Results of a New Minimally Invasive Surgical Technique. Otolaryngology-HNS 2005 Jan; 132(1):125-31.
  2. Maurer JT, Verse T, Stuck BA, Hormann K, Hein G. Long-Term Results of the Pillar Palatal Implant System for Primary Snoring. Otolaryngology-HNS 2005 Oct; 133(4):573-8.
  3. Goessler UR, Hein G. Verste T, Stuck BA, Hormann K, Maurer JT. Soft palate implants as a minimally invasive treatment for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Acta Otolaryngol. 2007 May; 127(5):527-31.
  4. Data on file.

Is the Pillar Procedure right for you? 

The Pillar Procedure is designed to treat the soft palate, one of the main contributors to snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). 1,2 

The soft palate is either the sole factor or a contributing factor in snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) for a majority of people. 1,2 If your soft palate is contributing to your snoring and/or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the Pillar Procedure may be an excellent treatment for you. 

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can be caused by the vibration, obstruction or collapse of upper airway tissue, including the soft palate, nasal airway, tonsils, adenoids, tongue or pharyngeal walls (throat). 

Your doctor will examine your upper airway to determine if your palate is causing or contributing to your snoring or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and if you are a good candidate for the Pillar Procedure. 

If you’ve decided to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle for you and your bed partner, just make an appointment with one of our doctors for an initial consultation. 

For additional information on the Pillar Procedure please visit www.pillarprocedure.com

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