Pillar implants are three braided implants about the length of a dime that are inserted into the soft palate. This is a minor surgical procedure using local anesthesia which is performed in your physician’s office. The implants stay in your palate permanently and do not interfere with any body functions. During the 3-4 weeks following the procedure, the braided implants will stiffen the soft palate. As a result of the palate stiffening, the palate will vibrate less and snoring will decrease.
What happens during surgery?
The doctor will spray some topical medicine on the soft palate and in your nose, and inject some anesthetic into the soft palate. Insertion devices are then used to place the implants in the soft palate. Following implant placement, the doctor will use a camera to look at the back of your throat to make sure the implant is in the correct position.
How effective are Pillar Implants?
The greatest advantage of Pillar implants is that you can effectively treat snoring in a single procedure with minimal discomfort. Other techniques to treat sleep apnea, such as Somnoplasty® or Coblation®, may require multiple procedures before they are effective and may be very painful (such as surgical removal of the uvula).
What are the risks of this surgery?
There are risks associated with any surgery, but complications with Pillar implants are very uncommon. Risks most frequently associated are bleeding, infection, the possibility of no snoring improvement, and extrusion of the implants (the implant may work its way out of the soft palate). If extrusion occurs, the implant can be removed in the physician’s office. This does not prevent you from having another implant placed.
What can I expect after this procedure?
This is a minor procedure with very few adverse effects. Following this procedure:
- your throat will be sore for about a week after the implants are placed
- Tylenol is usually adequate to treat the discomfort, but a stronger medication can be prescribed if necessary
- a short course of antibiotics will be prescribed
- you can eat or drink anything that you want after the procedure
Will my insurance pay for this procedure?
Unfortunately, most health insurance companies consider treatment for snoring to be essentially a cosmetic procedure, and will not cover this procedure.
Where to go from here?Previous Topic: Partial Glossectomy (Tongue Base Reduction)
Next Topic: Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP or UP3)
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