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URMC / Highland Hospital / Medical Professionals / Physician News / June 2019 / Highland Hospital Offers Cutting Edge Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Highland Hospital Offers Cutting Edge Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Highland Hospital is now the first hospital in the Rochester region to offer an implantable device called a hypoglossal nerve stimulator (Inspire®) as a treatment for patients who suffer from moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.

Inspire is an FDA-approved, surgically implanted device that stimulates a nerve in the tongue while patients sleep. This moves the tongue out of the way and helps keep the airway open so they can breathe more easily; the stimulation of the tongue is timed to the patient’s breathing. The implantation procedure is done under general anesthesia and involves three small incisions to place the device.

A processor is placed under the collar bone, a breathing sensor is placed between the ribs, and a stimulation lead is inserted under the chin. The procedure takes between two and three hours and most patients spend just one night in the hospital after surgery. After healing, patients are given a remote control to turn on the device right before bedtime, and turn it off when they wake up. They then undergo a sleep study with the device activated to make sure it is effective. A growing body of research shows Inspire to be a very effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.

Inspire device

“Selective upper airway stimulation, or ‘Inspire,’ is different from other procedures for obstructive sleep apnea because it can improve the tone of airway muscles during sleep,” said Sveta Karelsky, M.D., Chief of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at Highland Hospital and Associate Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, who performs the procedure. “Because of this, patients who are good candidates for Inspire typically have very good outcomes when it comes to treatment for their obstructive sleep apnea.”

Ideal candidates for the procedure have been diagnosed with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, have had a sleep study within the past 5 years, and have tried a CPAP device but weren’t able to benefit from it. Patients must also have a body mass index (BMI) of 32 or below. Candidates will undergo a procedure called a drug-induced sleep endoscopy (DISE) with Dr. Karelsky to evaluate whether the device is right for their anatomy.

For more information call UR Medicine Sleep Center at (585) 341-7575.


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