Soft palate implants safely reduce snoring

Insertion of small plastic rods into the soft palate with a minimally invasive surgical procedure is a safe and effective treatment for snoring, a small study suggests.

The technique is aimed at stiffening the soft palate tissue at the back of the roof of the mouth, to stop it fluttering and causing snoring during sleep.

The recently developed Anti-Snoring Device, now called the Pillar Palatal Implant System, uses a device that looks somewhat like soldering gun to insert a thin 3/4-inch-long plastic rod into the soft palate under local anesthesia. Typically, people have three implants inserted.

Dr. Joachim T. Maurer, from the University Hospital Mannheim in Germany, and colleagues assessed the outcomes of 15 people who were treated with the device.

After 90 days, there was a significant improvement in snoring-related symptoms, the authors note in the medical journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Moreover, the average number of snoring sounds per hour fell following treatment.

No complications occurred during implant placement and the participants reported only minor discomfort after the procedure. Sleep studies showed no evidence of a drop in sleep or breathing after treatment. In addition, no change in speech, swallowing, or taste occurred.

Still, further follow-up is needed to gauge the long-term effectiveness of this novel treatment, Maurer’s team says.

The study was supported in part by Restore Medical Inc., which markets the palatal implant system.

SOURCE: Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, January 2005.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: July 4, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD