Inspire Sleep Surgery in New Jersey and Philadelphia
Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation is a new, FDA-approved treatment for patients with obstructive sleep apnea who cannot tolerate or do not benefit from continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). After undergoing Inspire sleep surgery, patients can look forward to improved sleep and enhanced quality of life by relieving the symptoms of sleep apnea. At Becker Ear, Nose, and Throat Center, we are thrilled to offer the cutting-edge Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation treatment to patients in New Jersey and the surrounding areas, including Philadelphia.
What is Inspire Sleep Surgery?
This revolutionary surgical procedure involves implanting an upper airway stimulation device which patients manage with a remote control. The Inspire device features three fully implanted components: a small generator, a breathing sensor lead, and stimulation lead. When activated, it senses breathing patterns and delivers mild stimulation to the major airway muscles, which keep the airway open during sleep. Patients turn on the remote control when they go to bed and off again when they wake up in the morning.
Good Candidates for Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation
Continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP is the most common treatment for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP is a machine that features a mask that delivers a gentle flow of pressurized air to help keep the airways open during sleep. Many patients with obstructive sleep apnea are required to wear a CPAP mask at night while they are sleeping.
Unfortunately, not all obstructive sleep apnea patients are able to tolerate or get much benefit from CPAP and positive airway pressure. These patients are often good candidates for Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation as this procedure is an alternative solution to CPAP. Candidates should be at least 22 years of age, be diagnosed with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, and not have any medical conditions that would make the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation surgery unsafe.
The physicians at Becker ENT meet with each patient to pinpoint the anatomical cause of their obstructive sleep apnea and design a custom treatment plan. They may suggest Upper Airway Stimulation if they feel that you are a good candidate.
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How Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation is Performed
Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation implantation is an outpatient surgical procedure, although some patients may be asked to stay overnight in the hospital based on their other medical conditions. The procedure involves just three incisions: one at the upper neck, one just below the collarbone, and one on the chest, right under the armpit. Once the Inspire devices are implanted in the appropriate locations, small Steri strips are placed to cover the wounds, which will need to be left in place until patients return for their first postoperative appointment.
In addition, small pressure dressings on the two chest incisions, which should be left in place for 48 hours after the procedure. Patients will be permitted to shower as soon as the pressure dressings are removed.
Recovering From Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation
Although pain from Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation varies from patient to patient, it is usually not severe. Within seven to fourteen days, most patients notice that any pain has resolved. Low-dose pain medication, and an antibiotic are typically prescribed along with a steroid (on occasion to help reduce swelling).
While patients may remove their arm sling 24 hours after surgery, they can continue to keep it on if it makes them feel more comfortable. Some patients experience minor welling under the jaw during this healing process which typically resolves over a period of two to four weeks.
For the first week after surgery, patients should refrain from any heavy lifting or strenuous activity. You will be asked to avoid lifting your right arm above your shoulder for one month after surgery.
Patients will be required to meet with your Becker ENT doctor one week following the procedure in a postoperative appointment. This appointment is typically scheduled before the surgery is performed.
What to Expect in the Weeks and Months after Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation
During a patient’s first postoperative appointment, the sutures that were placed will be removed and the incisions will be checked. It is important to note that one week following the procedure, the device will still remain inactive.
Four weeks after the procedure, the patient will visit our office again for another postoperative appointment. During this visit, the patient will be required to wear a shirt or blouse that can be unbuttoned so that all of the incisions can be checked and the implant can be easily accessed.
A programmer will be used to ensure the device is functioning properly at which time the device will be turned on so that the patient can begin using it. This activation process is painless and takes about a half hour.
The patient will be given a remote control as well as detailed instructions and training on how to use it. Patients are encouraged to start at a low level of stimulation and gradually increase it over the next several weeks. It is usually recommended to increase stimulation every three days. If the patient finds a stimulation level too high, they can decrease it to one that is more comfortable and try increasing again in a few days.
Once the device is activated, the patient will be directed to use it every time they go to sleep. When they turn the device on, they should expect an initial pulse of tongue motion that will let them know it is working. The device will then delay further stimulation for a half hour so that the patient can fall asleep without experiencing any sensations. There is also a pause that allows the device to temporarily shut off for 15 minutes and can be used if the patient needs to get up in the middle of the night.
In about two months, the patient will return to our facility for a sleep study and additional device programming. During the sleep study, the device will be set to a level to optimize control of the patient’s sleep apnea. A limited range of stimulation will be programmed to allow the patient to adjust their device to their comfort level. The patient should continue to use the device every time they sleep.
Shortly after the study, the patient will meet with their physician at Becker ENT to go over the results, follow up on how they are doing, and make any necessary adjustments. The device can be reprogrammed at any time to ensure optimal comfort. Your Becker ENT physician will ask to see the patient periodically to see how they are doing and troubleshoot any problems.
Frequently Asked Questions About Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation
What does the device stimulation feel like?
Fortunately, stimulation is not painful or uncomfortable. It typically feels like a tingling sensation or mild contraction in the tongue muscles. The stimulation is programmed to deliver sensation without interrupting sleep.
Are there any risks or complications with Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation?
Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation is a surgical procedure, so there are potential risks and complications which will be reviewed in detail by your doctor at Becker ENT. Patients may experience some pain and mild to moderate swelling.
If bleeding from the incisions, excessive swelling at any of the incision sites, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, or slurred speech occurs, patients should contact our office right away.
How long is the battery life on the Inspire device?
The battery life on the Inspire device is about 10 years. Indicators on the patient’s remote will appear when their battery power is low. To change the battery involves a minor procedure that may be performed under local anesthesia, although in some cases sedation may be necessary.
Is the Inspire device safe?
Since the Inspire device is placed entirely inside the body, there is no electric shock feeling or injury from the stimulation. The device is designed to provide gentle electrical stimulation to the nerve that controls tongue movement. It moves the tongue forward without waking the patient up.
Can Inspire be used on an airplane?
Yes. The Inspire device can be used while patients are napping or sleeping on an airplane. They should remember to bring their device on the plane if they plan on using it.
Will Inspire treat snoring?
Research has shown that many bed partners of patients who use Inspire report either no snoring or soft snoring. It is vital to understand that while Inspire may improve snoring, it is not intended to be a snoring treatment.
Can the Inspire device be removed?
If for any reason a patient is displeased with their Inspire device, it can be removed with another surgical procedure.
What are the major benefits of Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation?
Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation can change a patient’s life for the better. It offers a variety of benefits including a significant reduction in airway obstruction, improved daytime concentration and functioning, enhanced quality of life, and a dramatic decrease in snoring.
Schedule a Private Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation Consultation at Becker ENT
If you are wondering whether the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation may be a good treatment option for your obstructive sleep apnea, we encourage you to schedule a private consultation at Becker Ear, Nose & Throat Center. Call us at 609-436-5740 or 856-772-1617 or contact us online today. We look forward to helping you find relief from your obstructive sleep apnea.