More than 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, but most never see a doctor about it because they assume it’s just snoring. But untreated sleep apnea is far more dangerous to your health.
Those who do get treatment for sleep apnea often end up with continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) therapy. While these treatments are overall successful, patients sometimes stop using their CPAP because the treatment may be uncomfortable when the patient has to wear a face mask and is hooked to the adjacent machine.
At The ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas, we offer another option for sleep apnea treatment called Inspire Sleep Therapy. Inspire uses a small implantable device for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Our patients find Inspire to be a great alternative to CPAP.
How Does Inspire Work?
Inspire Sleep Therapy includes a small generator, a sensing lead, and a stimulation lead. These are all implanted under the skin. The patient can then control the Inspire system through a handheld remote. The remote allows the patient to turn the device on and off, control the stimulation strength, and pause the device when needed. When the Inspire generator is on, it delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles, which works to keep the muscles from blocking the airway.
What Does The Inspire Implant Feel Like?
Inspire does not send any signals to the sensory nerves, the nerves responsible for feeling. Instead, it works with the motor nerves, which control the muscles. While you’re sleeping, Inspire sends gentle pulses to the motor nerves that control your tongue. It does this when it senses every breath. The pulses signal the motor nerves to gently move the tongue forward to keep it from blocking your airway.
When you first activate the Inspire system when you go to bed you can feel a light pulse just below your jaw on the side with the wire lead. This simply tells you that the Inspire system is activated and ready to help you sleep.
Is The Stimulation Provided By The Inspire System Painful?
Most of our ENT & Allergy patients say they feel the stimulation provided by the Inspire leads is a mild sensation. The electrical stimulation results in an involuntary movement of the upper airway muscles and/or your tongue. If the stimulation strength is too high, the upper airway may have a strong response that may be uncomfortable. The stimulation strength simply needs to be adjusted to make the level comfortable and effective.
What Are The Results With Inspire Sleep Therapy?
The Inspire sleep apnea system was approved by the FDA in 2014. To gain this approval, Inspire had to show successful research and results. Over 90 peer-reviewed publications document the safety and efficacy of Inspire. Here are some highlights of those studies:
- 90% of bed partners report no snoring or soft snoring
- 79% reduction in sleep apnea events
- 94% of people are satisfied with Inspire
- 96% of Inspire patients say Inspire is better than CPAP
If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, we need to see you at any of our ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas locations. Contact us today to make an appointment.