Compare Soft Palate Procedures

Surgical treatment options to address the soft palate component of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have traditionally involved the scarring or removal of tissue. A minimally invasive option to treat the soft palate is the Pillar Procedure from Medtronic. The table below lists common soft palate procedures for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

  • Types of Procedures
  • The Pillar Procedure: Using local anesthetic, the physician uses a specially designed delivery tool to place three tiny implants into the soft palate to support and stiffen the palate. Procedure takes one brief visit to the physician’s office.
    Patient Visits: One
    Invasiveness: Least Invasive
    Post Procedure Pain: Low
    Potential Side Effects: Partial extrusion
    (less than 1%)
    Reversible: Yes
  • Sclerotherapy: A small amount of a caustic chemical (called a sclerosant) is injected into the soft palate, which burns and destroys soft palate tissues. The destroyed tissue is replaced by scar tissue that stiffens the palate. Local anesthetic is used.
    Patient Visits: Multiple
    Potential Side Effects: Ulceration and breakdown of mucousal membranes
    Reversible: No
  • Radiofrequency (RF) ablation: Relatively low-level heat, generated by radiofrequency energy, is used to destroy soft palate tissue. Local anesthesia is used.
    Patient Visits: Multiple
    Potential Side Effects: Ulceration and breakdown of mucousal membranes
    Reversible: No
  • Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP): The surgeon uses a laser to cut away the uvula, the tissue that hangs from the middle of the back of the roof of the mouth. Patient may be under local anesthetic or general anesthesia.
    Patient Visits: Multiple
    Potential Side Effects: Transient velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI), a poor seal between the pharynx and soft palate, causing regurgitation of food and water when swallowing and adversely affecting speech.
    Reversible: No
  • Uvulopalato-pharyngoplasty (UPPP): Surgical removal of tissue, which may include the uvula, soft palate, tonsils, adenoids and pharynx.
    Patient Visits: One
    Invasiveness: Most Invasive
    Post Procedure Pain: Very High
    Potential Side Effects: Post-operative hemorrhage. Transient velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI), a poor seal between the pharynx and soft palate, causing regurgitation of food and water when swallowing and adversely affecting speech.
    Reversible: No

This comparative chart is based upon published literature and is not based upon head-to-head clinical comparisons of the PillarĀ® System with any other product or treatment modality. The physician and patient must determine if the characteristics and features of the Pillar System are right for them.