The Pillar Procedure, from Restore Medical is the latest development in the treatment of snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea. The procedure involves the placing of implants, using a special needle, into the soft palate.
In a telephone interview with John Foster, senior vice president of commercial operations at Restore Medical, I inquired about the possibility of the implants deteriorating, as has happened in the past with other implants, including the silicone breast scandal. Mr. Foster's reply: "The material used is a polyester type material. Similar materials have been in use for over fifty years in other medical implants, including cuffs on heart valves."
In a second interview, this one with Dr. Raza Pasha, Board Certified ENT at West Houston Doctors Center, Houston, I asked about the pre-testing done to determine if a patient is suffering from severe sleep apnea.
Dr. Pasha explained that there are three factors involved. First an examination of the patient's history including sleep patterns, and the observation of a bed partner, if any. Second is a thorough physical examination of the upper airway. And third, if it's deemed necessary after the preceding examinations, a sleep study.
Dr. Pasha has performed the Pillar procedure successfully on many patients. When asked about adverse reactions, he explained the only adverse reaction is partial extrusion of one of the implants through the skin. This is easily remedied by removing the implant and inserting another.
Dr. Pasha went on to explain that the Pillar procedure is the least invasive and the least painful of the twelve procedures he does, including tonsillectomy and UPPP (Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty.)
The Pillar procedure is available in the offices of most Otolaryngologists (physicians trained in the medical and surgical management and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck.) The success rate varies from about 70 percent to 95 percent, depending on how thorough the pre-examinations are.
The Pillar procedure has FDA approval and has recently been approved by Health Canada.
For more information on the Pillar Procedure, check out Dr. Pasha's website: Breathe Freely.
Published On: April 22, 2010