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How an Inspire Implant Can Replace Your CPAP Mask

June 21, 2024

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you may be dreading a lifetime of sleeping with a CPAP machine.

But what if there was another way to safely and effectively treat sleep apnea without a bulky mask and machine?

We asked Ari Namon, MD, an otolaryngologist at Hartford HealthCare Medical Group Specialty Care at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, to explain how an Inspire implant could help.

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Obstructive sleep apnea can seriously impact your health.

“Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition in which one stops breathing during sleep repeatedly through the night,” explains Dr. Namon. “This drops blood oxygen levels, which has short- and long-term effects on your health.”

Obstructive sleep apnea may cause:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Reduced focus and concentration
  • Mood changes or depression
  • Weight gain
  • Sleepwalking or night terrors

> Related: 4 Surprising Signs of Sleep Apnea

CPAP machines work, but many people struggle with them.

The good news about sleep apnea is that treatment works. And for many people, that treatment is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.

“CPAP works by applying continuous pressure with a mask or nasal prongs, which keeps the airway open, preventing apneas or pauses in breathing,” explains Dr. Namon.

But you need to wear your CPAP mask every night to prevent complications from sleep apnea, which many patients struggle with.

Here are some common challenges that Dr. Namon hears:

  • The mask can make people feel claustrophobic.
  • The device can be uncomfortable, especially for restless sleepers.
  • The device is difficult to transport and use during travel.
  • The mask may also cause symptoms like a stuffy nose or dry mouth.

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Inspire is a permanent implant that eliminates the need for CPAP.

If you’re tired of your CPAP machine, Inspire offers an alternative.

“Inspire is an implanted device, similar to a pacemaker, that helps with breathing. It senses your breaths and sends a signal to a nerve, which stiffens and moves the tongue forward to keep the airway open,” explains Dr. Namon.

This 2-hour outpatient surgery involves two incisions: one below the collarbone for the stimulator and one below the jawbone for the stimulator lead.

After the procedure, patients use a remote to turn the device on before bed and off when they wake up, eliminating the need for a CPAP device.

Why choose Inspire over CPAP?

Some benefits of Inspire include:

  • It doesn’t require any awkward external appliances.
  • It’s a permanent implant without external hoses or masks.
  • It stays silent without any noises that might annoy a bed partner.

“While not everyone qualifies for Inspire®, many patients can experience the benefits of this new treatment over a traditional CPAP,” answers Dr. Namon.

You may be a candidate for Inspire if you meet this criteria.

Dr. Namon shares the requirements candidates need to meet for the Inspire® device:

  • Unable to use the CPAP.
  • Have a BMI below 40.
  • Have an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) between 15 and 100.
  • Complete a quick, noninvasive outpatient procedure to confirm physical qualification.

“This all begins with a consultation,” says Dr. Namon. “In this visit, we’ll review your sleep apnea, discuss the pros and cons of Inspire® and answer any questions. Together, we’ll see if this treatment is right for you.”