A new addition to the repertoire for treating sleep apnea is a technique generally named Inspire. A pacemaker like device is surgically implanted under the clavicle which is attached to a wire. The wire stimulates the hypoglossal nerve (the nerve innervating the tongue) preventing the tongue from falling back into the throat and blocking the airway. In other words, every time the tongue falls back, it gets zapped and it returns forward. This is a great option for those who have tried everything and are desperate for a solution. It is however an invasive option when compared to simpler methods such as oral devices and cpap’s. Another consideration is cost. The surgery will run close to $40,000, and can be a challenge for most insurance to provide coverage. Most insurance will not cover this option and if they do, they will require one to fail the simpler less costly options first.
When the patient is sleeping, the tongue is observed to anyone observing to protrude or stick in and out of the mouth constantly.
As more treatment alternatives become available we at Laguna Hills Center for Sleep Apnea will keep you updated.