DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
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The pillar procedure is minor surgery intended to relieve habitual snoring and treat mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially serious disorder in which breathing is interrupted repeatedly during sleep. Both snoring and obstructive sleep apnea may result from a relaxation of muscles at the back of your throat.
The pillar procedure involves surgically placing small polyester rods in the soft palate. Each implant measures 18 millimeters (mm) in length — slightly less than an inch — and 1.5 mm in diameter. The subsequent healing of tissue around the implants stiffens the soft palate, thereby reducing relaxation and vibration of the tissue. The pillar procedure is usually done in your doctor's office with local anesthesia.
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- Nordgard S, et al. Palatal implants: A new method for the treatment of snoring. Acta Oto-laryngologica. 2004;124:970.
- Obstructive sleep apnea. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec05/ch061/ch061b.html. Accessed Jan. 4, 2011.
- Sleep apnea. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/SleepApnea/SleepApnea_WhatIs.html. Accessed Jan. 4, 2011.
- Steward DL, et al. Palate implants for obstructive sleep apnea: Multi-institution, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. 2008;139:506.