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Pillar® Procedure FAQs

Pillar Procedure - Size of ImplantsThe Pillar procedure is a solution for both snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea originating from the soft palate. This breakthrough procedure is office-based, requiring only a local anesthetic. Four to five small, flexible implants are placed into the upper soft palate to add support during sleep. Within three months of implantation, the palate flutters less and snoring is improved.

Pillar implantation takes about fifteen minutes to perform. This procedure is associated with minimal discomfort with most patients returning to work the same or following day.

Pillar® Procedure FAQs

How long has Dr. Schumann Jr. been performing the Pillar Procedure and how many has she performed?

The Pillar Procedure was introduced in 2003 and Dr. Schumann Jr. was one of the first physicians to perform the procedure within months of its introduction that year.

She has performed hundreds of implantations over the last seven years and is the leading provider of the Pillar Procedure in the San Diego and Orange County region of Southern California.

Why does Dr. Schumann Jr. put in up to five implants when most other doctors put in only three?

The Pillar® Procedure was originally performed with three implants and the majority of studies regarding its efficacy were carried out using three implants.

Based on Dr. Schumann Jr.’s personal experience over the years, better snoring control occurs for more patients with four to five implants. The width of the soft palate will determine whether four or five implants will be placed.

How much pain is expected and what is the recovery time?

Most patients will experience a sore throat for one to two days which is typically relieved with the use of throat lozenges and over the counter pain medications. The majority of patients return to work by the day after implantation.

When will I start to notice an improvement in snoring?

The majority of patients notice an effect within four to six weeks after implantation, although 10-20% will notice an immediate snoring reduction.

The natural tissue response to the implants will progressivley support the soft palate over the 3-12 months after implantation to further minimize the sound of snoring.

Are the implants permanent?

Pillar® implants are made of a strong woven material that lasts a lifetime. Designed to be permanent, the implants are capable of being removed although there is rarely a reason to do so.

Is the Pillar Procedure covered by my insurance?

Procedures for the treatment of snoring, including the Pillar Procedure, are considered to be ‘cosmetic’ or ‘lifestyle related’ and are not covered by insurance.

Some insurance companies will cover the consultation visit for evaluation of snoring, since snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea a serious medical condition.

I have sleep apnea. Will the Pillar Procedure be covered by my insurance since sleep apnea is a serious medical condition?

The Pillar® Procedure can be very successful in reducing mild to moderate sleep apnea arising from collapse of the soft palate. However, the policies of all the insurance companies our practice is contracted with specifically exclude the Pillar Procedure as a covered benefit for the treatment of sleep apnea.

Insurance companies see CPAP as the first-line treatment for sleep apnea. If you wish to have the Pillar® Procedure as an alternative to an insurance covered benefit like CPAP for the treatment of your sleep apnea, please understand that our practice cannot bill your insurance company for the Pillar procedure, nor can we contact them to request authorization to perform the Pillar® procedure as a covered benefit.

To read more about the Medtronic's Pillar® Procedure visit their website at: www.pillarprocedure.com

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