Stop Snoring Using The Pillar Procedure

By Jomvie Reyes - PTRP, RN, MN

The Pillar procedure is a minimally invasive treatment of problems related to snoring and sleep apnea. Both snoring and sleep apnea are caused by relaxation of muscles and soft tissue structures surrounding the respiratory air passageways. This procedure was DFA approved in 2004, and has been considered as an alternative method in the treatment of mild to moderate sleep disorders.

The Pillar procedure can also be used in combination with other snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea treatments. About 45,000 people worldwide have been treated using this procedure.

Snoring and Mild to Moderate Sleep Apnea

“What causes snoring and sleep apnea? Why is it necessary to undergo surgical operations just to correct these sleeping conditions?” – these are some questions that are being asked by patients and relatives in regards to the necessity of having a surgical knife cut through your throat.

There is nothing to worry about. The Pillar procedure is considered to be a minor surgery and is withothe pillar procedureut the gross and explicit picturesque seen in graphic movies and novels.

The need for a surgical procedure to be done stems out from the dysfunctional mechanisms and processes that occur through the airway and the structures surrounding it.

Snoring is caused by the vibration of the structures located at the back of the throat. One particular structure here is the soft palate, which contributes to about 80% of all incidents of snoring and sleep apnea. In relation to snoring, the soft palate relaxes and partially obstructs the airway where air causes its fluttering and vibrating sounds. When it completely collapses and totally obstructs the airway, it results to stoppage of the breathing mechanism, which is called apnea.

In other cases, structures like the tongue and soft tissues around the air passageway relax during sleep; causing the narrowing and subsequently the obstruction of the air that passes through while breathing. The narrowing of the airway also results to changes in the pressure in the area and increasing the velocity of the air that is inspired or expired.

This creates an imbalance and dysfunction of the air passage; in which abnormal sounds like snoring are produced. In severe cases, airway collapse ensue which results to total obstruction of the airway. This is now called obstructive sleep apnea.

About Pillar Procedure

The pillar procedure is conducted by an otolaryngologist, or commonly known as EENT doctor. The procedure is minimally invasive that it only requires local anesthesia and can be performed in your doctor’s clinic.

During the procedure, 3 polyester implants are surgically placed in the palate. These tiny rods (each measuring 18 mm in length), with the help of the natural soft tissues, add structural support to the area and stiffen the soft palate. This helps in reducing the vibration and snoring sounds during sleep. This also prevents obstruction of the airway that leads to sleep apnea.

Patients who have just gone through the pillar procedure can resume normal diet and activities right after the procedure. A prescription that may involve antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, and analgesics may be given by the doctor after the procedure.

Studies have shown a few complications related to the Pillar procedure. A common reported complication was the protrusion of the implants through the soft palate tissue. This can easily be corrected by either removing or replacing the implants.

Other common side effects of the procedures; all which can resolved on their own are: sore throat, swelling, dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), and the feeling of having a foreign body stuck in the soft palate.


It can be categorically stated that the Pillar procedure is a safe and proven method to treat snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea. It all goes down to the choice and prerogative every patient wants in the treatment and management of their snoring and sleep problem.

For questions and other inquiries, please contact us and we will respond right away.

Last Updated: October 25, 2013


This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information here is not advice, and should not be treated as such. This website is not to be used as an alternative to a doctor or other healthcare professional. You should never delay in seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment based on this information.