Over 25% of the American population suffers from some variation of Obstructive Snooze Apnea Hypopnea Symptoms (OSAHS) and this can disrupt sleep thereby causing discomfort and even other sleep related disorders. The pillar implant procedure is the most non-invasive, simple and effective way to treat this disorder. Also known as palatal restoration, this involves embedding tiny rods on the soft palate. This procedure causes the soft palate tissues to stiffen and thereby prevents airway vibration and obstruction while sleeping. The procedure which takes just one sitting involves no tissue removal or damage to the area and is therefore less painful than other options for sleep apnea treatment and has been approved by Health Canada.
The disorder and how the treatment helps
While sleeping, the throat muscles tend to relax and any tissues at the back of the throat which are unsupported could expand and contract. This becomes one of the main reasons for blockage in the airways causing the airway to reduce in size and obstruct smooth breathing. This also causes the soft palate of the mouth to vibrate which makes the snoring noises while sleeping. Some studies suggest that almost 80% of sleep apnea related snoring sounds occur because of the obstruction of the airways caused by the soft palate tissue vibrations.
With this treatment procedure, three tiny woven rods are inserted into the soft palate that make the tissues surrounding it to stiffen, thereby giving it support and avoiding it from collapsing. This non-invasive palatal restoration does not use any heat, chemicals or tissue removals, thereby allowing the patients to resume normal activities and diet the very same day. These implants are a permanent procedure and thereby it provides a long term relief from sleep apnea related issues. The Pillar implants are made out of surgical and medical materials and do not hinder with speech or swallowing food and liquids.
80-90% of the people who have undergone this treatment, have reported long lasting effects on the reduction of snoring and visible benefits within the first 2 months of the treatment. This was also proven by Dr. Friedman in a study – which was conducted on 62 patients as a double-blinded placebo controlled trial -at the annual meeting for Ear, Nose, and Throat surgery in 2006. In his experiment he had 50% of the people implanted with pillar procedure and on the other 50% he just performed a fake surgery, with none of the participants aware of this arrangement. This was done to see if the treatment really works or is it more psychological. In his conclusion, he reported that the ones with actual implants reported a 50% improvement in snoring issues, whereas the ones with the fake surgery had no changes to report.