Inspire Sleep Therapy

How does Inspire Sleep Therapy work?

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Inspire implant is a surgical procedure for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Simply put, it is a small device that is that works inside your body while you sleep to treat the root cause of sleep apnea using a remote control.  This device is placed during a same-day, outpatient procedure.

The procedure involves two incisions. One is in the neck just under the jawline typically on the right side. This incision is 5 cm long. This incision allows dissection down to the nerve that makes the tongue move. The branches of that nerve that specifically make the tongue stick out of the mouth are isolated and a small stimulating electrode cuff is wrapped around these nerve branches. When stimulated this causes the tongue to stiffen and move forward to help open up the area behind the tongue as well as stiffen the soft palate. The second incision is on the chest also typically on the right side. It is between the second and third rib 3cm from the sternum and is also 5 cm long. This incision is for the placement of the implantable pulse generator (IPG) that will stimulate the tongue nerve. It is also the incision where the inspiratory sensor is placed between the rib muscles to help synchronize the tongue nerve stimulation by the IPG with breathing in. At the conclusion of the procedure, a test is done to confirm that the IPG appropriately creates the stiffening and protrusion of the tongue forward, and then the incisions are closed and bandages are placed.

Am I a good candidate for Inspire?

This procedure is an alternative to CPAP therapy for certain patients that cannot tolerate CPAP.

  • The patient’s age must be 18+
  • Patients with apnea/hypopnea index (AHI) between 15-65 are candidates.
  • For Medicare members, the patient’s BMI must be less than 35.
  • For UHC, BCBS of TX, Aetna and most other insurances, BMI must be less than 32.
  • A special Drug-Induced Sleep Endoscopy (DISE) must be done to make sure that the Inspire procedure is right for you. This evaluation of the airway exam is performed to confirm the patient is a candidate for the procedure. It is very routine and non-surgical. A short-acting medication is given by a board-certified anesthesiologist to put you to sleep. While you are asleep, a camera records obstructive sleep apnea events. This procedure takes less than 15 minutes.

    Sleep Apnea Patient Testimonial

    balloon sinuplasty austin tx | Sinus & Snoring Specialists“sinus infections and allergy issues for year, they helped me solve the problem and not just treat the symptoms. They also addressed my sleep apnea with alternatives to a c-pap. I feel better than I have in years despite the pandemic.”

    Suzanne P.

    Will the Inspire system limit my activities?

    Most patients will experience pain requiring pain medications for 2-3 days. It is generally well tolerated.

    Patients are instructed to avoid water on the incision for one week. You may shower carefully the first day after the procedure but avoid water contact to the incision and leave the bandages dry and intact. On the one-week follow-up appointment, the patient is seen by the physician associate, and if all is well, will be instructed they may begin washing the area.
    In addition to avoiding washing the incision for the first week, the patient should refrain from exercise and heavy lifting for 6 weeks. We will also instruct you on how to do head rolling exercises three times per day for 6 weeks.

    After this initial healing time there are usually no limitations to activity.

    There may be some limitations of the use of MRI after this procedure.

    How often should my doctor check the Inspire system?

    Patients are seen by our physician associates one week after the procedure. There will be another appointment 4 weeks after the procedure, at an inpatient sleep lab, where the device is turned on.  The patient will start to use the device and begin to benefit. About 4 weeks after that a formal in-lab sleep study is done to fine-tune the exact amount of stimulation that is best to achieve optimal results.  Thereafter there are no typical required check-ups.

    The IPG may weaken after about 11 years and it will need to be replaced as a simple outpatient procedure.

    What does the stimulation feel like?

    Inspire sends mild stimulations to the motor nerve that controls your tongue, moving it out of the way. The stimulation is very gentle and designed to move the tongue forward without disturbing your sleep. It should not be painful or uncomfortable.

    Am I still a candidate for Inspire if I have a pacemaker or other implanted device?


    Will Inspire help with snoring?

    A significant decrease in snoring has been found as a secondary effect of Inspire. 90% of bed partners report no or soft snoring by their partner.

    Does insurance cover the procedure?

    Yes, most insurances cover the procedure, if certain criteria are met.

    What are the possible complications of Inspire?

    Risks of complications are fortunately low and rare and include but are not limited to: incomplete correction of snoring and OSA, weakness of the tongue, numbness of the tongue, infection requiring implant removal, hematoma, scarring, pneumothorax.

    Who does the procedure?

    Dr. Slaughter performs every procedure. There are physician associates and/or surgical assistants in all cases as well. The surgical assistants are usually one of the physician associates in our practice.

    Where is the procedure performed?

    The procedure is performed at an outpatient surgical facility.

    What type of anesthesia is used?

    All of these cases are done under general anesthesia.

    How long does the procedure take?

    Patients typically arrive 1 hour before the procedure for preparation. The procedure may take between 1-2 hours.

    How does the scar look?

    The incisions are placed in the natural skin crease of the neck and chest and are very cosmetically pleasing.

    Schedule a consultation

    If you are experiencing problems related to sleep apnea and want to learn more about Inspire Sleep Therapy, contact our office today! Call (512) 601-0303 to schedule a consultation with ENT specialist Dr. Slaughter. You can also fill out the Appointment Request Form on this page, and our staff will help you arrange your consultation. We look forward to serving you!

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