The Pillar Procedure is a treatment for snoring that is simple, yet safe. In lots of cases, it is also effective in aiding those who suffer from mild to moderate OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). This procedure works by stiffening the soft palate, which is thought is a major contributor for around 80% of people who cannot stop snoring. The best thing about the Pillar Procedure is that is can be carried out in just 20 minutes under a local anesthetic, allowing you to quickly enjoy a better and more restful sleep. Snoring can interfere with your intimacy as well as your sleep, and having to wear a cumbersome mask when you go to bed is never ideal. The Pillar Procedure is the ideal solution to the problem.
Risks of the Pillar Procedure
Although the Pillar Procedure is quite safe, there are a few risks which should be borne in mind.
Infection and Bleeding
Infection and bleeding very rarely occur following the Pillar Procedure, and when patients rinse out their mouths with antiseptic before the procedure is performed the chances of infection will be reduced even more. It is important to refrain from using a mouthwash after surgery as many mouthwashes have an alcohol content which may cause irritation to the mouth lining and be detrimental to the healing process. To prevent severe bleeding, the use of Aspirin, vitamin supplements, herbal medications and NSAIDs should be avoided for at least a fortnight both before and after the procedure.
Pillar implants have been designed to stay permanently in the soft palate, however on rare occasions, the implants may be displaced and pushed through the palate’s lining. This process may occur over a number of days or weeks, with the first sign generally being the white tip of the implant appearing on the soft palate’s surface. This will usually be felt with the tongue, and if this should happen, you should visit your doctor as it can easily be removed through a simple, short procedure. It is possible to replace the implant once the palate has healed.
Difficulty in Swallowing or Speaking
Following the procedure there may be some swelling, however this should not be severe enough to interfere with speech or swallowing. On some occasions, however, this may occur.
Dry Throat, or Sensation of Something Being Stuck in the Throat
Any procedure carried out on the soft palate may affect the throat, so some patients may experience a feeling of dryness, or a sensation of something being stuck in their throat. Usually, this will be a temporary occurrence, however sometimes it may be permanent.
Although the purpose of the Pillar Procedure is to reduce the frequency and volume of disruptive snoring, some patients will experience continued snoring to some extent, even when the surgery has been successful. There are options for further treatment if snoring persists after the procedure, including additional implants or alternative treatments.
Cost of the Pillar Procedure
Sadly, the Pillar Procedure is generally deemed by insurance companies to be a cosmetic procedure, and therefore most patients are expected to pay for treatment themselves since their insurers will not cover the operation, meaning that many people choose not to attempt this treatment. Overall, the cost of the procedure will vary, however the average price is about $1500. If five pillars need to be used, the price rises to a level of around $2200 or even as high as $4000. The reason for the high expense of this procedure is because it uses proprietary technology which means that the physician must buy the plastic rods from a particular supplier at a per-determined price. It is therefore vital to shop around if you are considering having this treatment, but bear in mind the doctor’s level of experience before committing to a particular surgeon. Bear in mind that the lowest priced doctor may not always be the best, and it is most important to seek out a physician who is fully qualified and who has been successful in carrying out this procedure on numerous occasions.
Pros And Cons
- Effective solution to loud and persistent snoring for many people
- Quick procedure with no need for general anesthetic
- Effective solution for many people who suffer from sleep apnea
- Not always completely effective
- Invasive surgery
- Some side effects are possible