FAQs

What are the benefits of the Pillar Procedure?

Simple Procedure

The Pillar® Procedure is a simple, effective treatment for chronic snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The Pillar Procedure can be performed in a single, brief visit to the doctor’s office or in combination with additional procedures to treat other areas of upper airway obstruction. It takes about 20 minutes, causes minimal discomfort, and most patients resume normal diet and activities the same day of the procedure.

Clinically Effective

Clinical studies 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 sleep apnea hypopnea index (AHI), and results were sustained at one year after the Pillar Procedure.3
 (AHI is an index used to assess the severity of sleep apnea, based on the total number of complete cessations, called apnea, and partial obstructions, called hypopnea, of breathing that occur per hour of sleep. These pauses in breathing must last for at least 10 seconds and are associated with a decrease in oxygenation of the blood. In general, an AHI of 5-15 is considered mild, 15-30 is considered moderate, and greater than 30 is considered severe.)
  • Patients experienced less daytime sleepiness and significant improvements in lifestyle after the Pillar Procedure.4

Once the snoring problem has been resolved, couples can share a bed again, enjoy a more restful sleep, and live a healthier lifestyle.

References

  1. Maurer JT, Verse T, Stuck BA, Hörmann 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, Hörmann 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, Hörmann 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.

How is the Pillar Procedure different from other snoring remedies?

There are several key differences:

  • Minimally invasive. The Pillar® Procedure is done in 1 brief office visit. Other treatments to stop snoring may require multiple treatments over a series of visits, or an operating room procedure. Some patients have more than 1 part of the airway that causes their snoring. This sometimes requires multiple or combination snoring treatments that address each area. An advantage of the Pillar Procedure is that you can still have these other procedures if you need them. The Pillar Procedure is reversible if necessary (by removing the implants).
  • Minimal discomfort. The Pillar Procedure doesn’t involve the permanent surgical removal of tissue. It doesn’t require using radiofrequency energy or chemicals to destroy tissue. The Pillar Procedure causes minimal discomfort and most patients resume normal diet and activities the same day.
  • Results. Some patients report a noticeable improvement in their snoring problems within weeks, while others may take up to 3 months to realize the full benefit of the Pillar Procedure, which is designed to have a lasting effect.

How does the snoring treatment work?

During the Pillar Procedure, a doctor or dentist places tiny woven implants into the soft palate using a sterile delivery tool. Over time, the implants, together with the body’s natural fibrotic response, add structural support to stiffen the soft palate and reduce the tissue vibration that can cause snoring. It also reduces the tissue collapse that can obstruct the upper airway and cause sleep apnea. See a video of How the Pillar Procedure Works.

What kind of results can I expect?

Some patients report a noticeable improvement in snoring within weeks, while others may take up to 3 months to realize the full benefit of the Pillar® Procedure. Clinical studies 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 sleep apnea hypopnea index (AHI), and results were sustained at one year after the Pillar Procedure.
  • Patients experienced less daytime sleepiness and significant improvements in lifestyle after the Pillar Procedure.4

Once the snoring problem has been resolved, couples can share a bed again, enjoy a more restful sleep, and live a healthier lifestyle.

How many patients have been treated with the Pillar Procedure?

More than 45,000 people worldwide have been treated with the Pillar® Procedure. Watch our patient stories here.

How much does the Pillar Procedure cost?

For many people who suffer from chronic snoring, the value of a good night’s sleep would be priceless. However, the treatment of snoring is considered to be cosmetic, and typically is not covered by health insurance or Medicare.

Fortunately, the Pillar® Procedure is well within the financial reach of most people. A doctor or dentist determines the price for the Pillar Procedure in his or her practice, and most offer affordable financing options for their patients with a variety of payment options.

Ask any of the 45,000 patients already treated with Pillar Procedure, and they’ll likely tell you that investing in a better night’s sleep was well worth it. Watch our patient stories.

A doctor determines the price for the Pillar® Procedure in his or her practice. Prices vary between practices. You can locate providers who offer the Pillar Procedure by using our Find a Doctor.

 

Will my health insurance or Medicare cover the Pillar Procedure?

Snoring treatment is considered to be cosmetic, and typically is not covered by health insurance or Medicare. Contact your health insurance provider to see what your coverage may be.

How long does the Pillar Procedure take?

The Pillar® Procedure can be performed in approximately 20 minutes during 1 short visit to the doctor’s office.

How are the implants placed in the soft palate?

Each Pillar implant is preloaded into a specially designed, single-use, sterile delivery tool. The doctor uses separate delivery tools to place each implant into the muscle of the soft palate. The Pillar Procedure does not require the removal of any soft palate tissue.

How big is the implant? What does it look like?

The Pillar implants, which can help with snoring, are as small as a dime.

The Pillar implants, which can help with snoring, are as small as a dime.

Each tiny, highly engineered and precisely woven Pillar® Procedure implant is approximately 0.7 inches (18 mm) and has an outer diameter of approximately 0.08 inches (2 mm). The implants are woven from a polyester material that has been used for more than 50 years in implantable medical products.

Will I notice the implants in my palate?

You should not be able to see or feel the Pillar® Procedure implants in your soft palate. A small percentage of patients report feeling a minor “foreign body sensation” after the procedure. This sensation is temporary and should subside and go away within a few days after the procedure.

Is the Pillar Procedure painful?

Because tissue is not removed, discomfort is minimal. Some patients use an over-the-counter pain reliever after the Pillar® Procedure, and most are able to resume normal activities and diet the same day. Patients can’t see or feel the Pillar implants, nor do they interfere with swallowing or speech.

Will there be any change in my speech or will I have any difficulty swallowing?

There have been no reports of patients experiencing changes in speech or difficulty swallowing following the Pillar® Procedure.

How do I know if the Pillar Procedure will work for me?

The soft palate is almost always involved in chronic snoring, but there may be other factors as well, such as blockage of the nasal airway, tonsils, and adenoids. If your soft palate is contributing to your snoring problem or sleep apnea, the Pillar Procedure may be a good option for you. A doctor should examine your upper airway to determine if you are a good candidate for the Pillar Procedure.

I want to have the Pillar Procedure to stop snoring. What do I do next?

Congratulations, you’ve decided to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle for you and your bed partner. The first step is to make an appointment with a Pillar Procedure specialist for an initial consultation. The Pillar Procedure requires specific training, so to find a qualified doctor in your area, use our Find a Doctor.

I have sleep apnea. Am I a candidate to try the Pillar Procedure?

Obstructive sleep apnea treatment can be complex and may involve other treatments and lifestyle changes to address multi-level upper airway obstruction. The Pillar Procedure is indicated for the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea and can be an effective first step in your journey to a better night’s sleep.

The most common obstructive sleep apnea treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and this should always be tried first if prescribed by your doctor. However, roughly 50% of patients who try CPAP cannot tolerate this treatment. There are also sleep apnea surgeries that remove or alter tissue at the back of the throat, such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) and laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP). These surgical procedures are invasive and often painful options that can require weeks of recovery time and pain management medications.

How many people are affected by chronic snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, 75 million Americans (1 in 4) suffer from chronic snoring.1 Approximately 59 million people in the United States suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), 15 million of which are moderate to severe cases.2


References

  1. American Academy of Otolaryngology website. Snoring. Accessed Dec. 23, 2010.
  2. Young T, Skatrud J, Peppard PE. Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea in adults. JAMA. 2004; 2004 Apr 28; 291(16): 2013-6.

What are the risks if I choose not to have my obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) treated?

Because of the serious disturbances in normal sleep patterns, people with sleep apnea often feel very sleepy during the day, and their concentration and daytime performance suffer. The consequences of untreated sleep apnea range from annoying to life-threatening; symptoms include depression, irritability, sexual dysfunction, learning and memory difficulties, and falling asleep while at work, on the phone, or driving. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea patients are at least 6 times more likely to have automobile accidents.1 Additionally, it has been estimated that up to 50% of sleep apnea patients have high blood pressure.2 Also, the risk for heart attack and stroke increases for those people with sleep apnea.3

References

  1. Teran-Santos J, Jimenez-Gomez A, Cordero-Guevara J. The association between sleep apnea and the risk of traffic accidents. New Engl J Med. 1999 Mar 18; 340(11): 847-51.
  2. Silverberg DS, Iaina A, Oksenberg A. Treating obstructive sleep apnea improves essential hypertension and quality of life. Am Fam Physician. 2002 Jan 15;65(2):229-36.
  3. Young T, Skatrud J, Peppard PE. Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea in adults. JAMA. 2004; 2004 Apr 28; 291(16): 2013-6.

What kind of complications have you seen?

Since the Pillar® Procedure does not involve removing or destroying tissue, the risk of complication is extremely low. There have been no reported major adverse events as a result of the Pillar Procedure. With more than 45,000 Pillar Procedures performed worldwide, the reported complication rate is less than 1%. The most frequently reported minor complication is a partial extrusion of an implant. A partial extrusion occurs when the implant is placed too shallow or too deep, and the tip of the implant protrudes through the surface of the soft palate tissue. If a partial extrusion occurs, the doctor can remove the implant. For additional information on complications, see the complete Safety Information.

Patient Stories

Patient Success Stories

Thousands of patients have experienced the benefits of the Pillar® Procedure for snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). You can hear from actual patients about what symptoms convinced them to try the Pillar Procedure, their experience with the Pillar Procedure itself, and the results they experienced in their effort to stop snoring.


See how the Pillar Procedure has helped more patients.

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