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An upper airway stimulation approach to sleep apnea works inside the patient’s body. It involves a small implantable pacemaker-like device which stabilizes the throat while sleeping by providing gentle stimulation to throat muscles and allowing the airway to remain open during sleep.
The device gets implanted along the right side of the neck and chest wall during a two- or three-hour long procedure under general anesthesia. After four weeks the device gets turned by the physician and patients use a small remote control to turn the device on at night and off in the morning when they wake up. The small sensor in the chest wall monitors the patient's breathing and sends mild stimulation to the hypoglossal nerve to prevent the tongue from blocking the airway.
Several studies have reported on safety and efficacy of upper airway stimulation with high patient satisfaction scores:
The device battery lasts approximately ten to eleven years, after which it can be replaced during a brief outpatient surgery.
Inspire Therapy is not for everyone, and patients will have to meet several characteristics: