When people think of treatments for sleep apnea, it’s often a cumbersome CPAP mask that comes to mind. Although the CPAP is the quintessential treatment for sleep apnea, other procedures are shorter and can be just as effective. In the Pillar Procedure, also known as soft palate implants, 3-5 polyester rods are inserted into the palate area of the patient’s mouth.
The Pillar Procedure is considered surgical; it is known to be quick, easy, and highly effective for sufferers of sleep apnea. This process ultimately stiffens the soft palate, preventing the vibrations that cause snoring. Since it is designed to target the precise cause of snoring, it is common for a Pillar Procedure to singlehandedly relieve all of the signs of sleep apnea.
Since no treatment is ideal for every patient, it makes sense to invest in a relatively simple procedure that is often covered by insurance. Once you’ve attained an understanding of how simple and effective the Pillar Procedure is for patients with sleep apnea, you can discuss whether it’s the optimal solution for your unique symptoms with Dr. Beshar.
Why Soft Palate Implants Prevent Snoring
A major cause of sleep apnea is that many patients have a loose soft palate that can interfere with their respiratory process. By inserting these polyester rods with a sterilized tool, the patient’s soft palate becomes stiff, and therefore less obstructive. Similar to how a leg brace encourages proper healing of the leg, the rods used in the Pillar Procedure add structure to the soft palate, and the body responds by tightening the structure around them. By stiffening the soft palate area, snoring is greatly reduced and potentially eliminated altogether.
To put in perspective how quick the Pillar Procedure is designed to be, there is only local anesthesia involved, and the whole process takes about 20 minutes. Compared to other methods that involve lots of tedium with questionable success rates, the Pillar Procedure is proven to be both quick and easy.
Advantages Over The CPAP Machine
There is a slew of advantages over the traditional CPAP mask. For starters, the CPAP machine simply doesn’t work for every patient. Multiple factors make patients susceptible to sleep apnea, and the CPAP is limited in its ability to target these factors. A key advantage of the Pillar Procedure is that it doesn’t involve the night after night tedium of wearing the CPAP mask.
Many patients don’t realize that the CPAP machine can cause a host of unwanted side effects, including abdominal bleeding, sore throat, and eye irritation. Conversely, none of these side effects are present when a Pillar Procedure is conducted.
Another notable fact regarding the Pillar Procedure is that it is optimal only for mild and moderate cases of sleep apnea. For patients with more severe sleep apnea, much more invasive actions may be required. In such severe cases, major surgeries like Uvulopalatopharyngoplasties (UPPP) and hyoid suspensions are among the surgeries that might be necessary. For those whose apnea is still at a manageable level, the Pillar Procedure remains one of the best overall treatments.
An Extremely Low-Risk Procedure
Whether a simple tonsil removal or complex oral surgery, all surgeries come with a certain margin of error. Fortunately for those with sleep apnea, the Pillar Procedure has boasted a very low complication rate of just 1%. Also notable is that the complications were rare and relatively minor, with no catastrophic problems reported. The fact that no tissue is damaged or removed is a major reason for the inherent safety level of the Pillar Procedure.
When a medical procedure generates as much attention as the Pillar Procedure, the medical community spares no expense to ensure that it works. After numerous studies involving this sleep apnea treatment, several positive conclusions were found. Most notably, 80% of patients showed a reduction in their sleep apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and were able to sustain those results for an entire year. Another research study demonstrated that harmful side effects of sleep apnea, such as daytime fatigue, were significantly reduced by the Pillar Procedure.
Cost Of The Pillar Procedure
Since it’s still viewed by many as cosmetic, a lot of insurance companies opt out of covering the Pillar Procedure. As an overall average, having 3-5 rods inserted as part of the procedure will cost around $1,500 to $2,200. While this is more expensive than the CPAP machine, the procedure is only necessary once and has a high success rate without the need to wear it every night. When weighed against the health costs of suffering from sleep apnea, the Pillar Procedure is highly effective and affordable for those who qualify.
Is The Pillar Procedure Covered By Insurance?
While not every insurer covers the Pillar Procedure, many do, assuming the procedure is needed for health purposes. This means that if a patient is wanting insurance coverage for their Pillar Procedure simply to curtail snoring for cosmetic reasons, it will not be covered by insurance. However, if it has been proven that the snoring is related to a harmful medical condition such as sleep apnea, then most insurers will cover the procedure. Dr. Beshar’s staff is happy to help uncover any costs that may be covered under your current plan.
Contact Dr. Beshar to Discover the Best Solution for Your Sleep Apnea
No solution is the perfect cure, but preliminary info on the Pillar Procedure shows that it’s pretty close to a miracle for sufferers of sleep apnea. Targeting the direct source of the snoring problem and with numerous studies to back it up, the effectiveness of the Pillar Procedure is undeniable. Add in the benefits of low cost, a short time requirement, and little to no side effects, and it’s clear that the Pillar Procedure is arguably the best all-around treatment for sleep apnea.