A New Procedure to Help Sleep Apnea - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/9/06

A New Procedure to Help Sleep Apnea

Like 18 million Americans, Tony has Sleep Apnea. The condition causes people to stop breathing during sleep, for some, as often as 400 times a night. The C-Pap machine is an effective treatment, but it's cumbersome. A lot of people don't know there is an FDA approved alternative today called the Pillar Procedure. In this outpatient procedure that takes about 30 minutes, doctors put three tiny implants in the soft palate. The implants, and the scar tissue that forms, stiffen the palate.

"It's kind of like putting a batten in a sail or a stiffening rod in a sail, so it doesn't luft anymore. If your soft palate is stiff, it doesn't fall backwards, and you don't stop breathing," said Martin Huff of the Cleveland Clinic.

Tony used to stop breathing 26 times an hour until he had the Pillar Procedure. Now, he can sleep through the night. This is not a cure and it doesn't work for everybody. Studies show it works best on patients with mild Sleep Apnea and even then, it works in just two-thirds of the patients. But if you're suffering with Sleep Apnea living on too little sleep and don't want to wear a C-Pap to bed. The Pillar Procedure might be an option you want to discuss with your doctor.

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