Upper Airway Stimulation
Inspire - Upper Airway Stimulation Therapy
Pinehurst Surgical Ear, Nose and Throat/Head and Neck surgery center is now offering Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) therapy, a breakthrough obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) treatment option for those who cannot use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
(OSA) affects 22 million Americans. OSA occurs when soft tissues in the airway collapse during sleep and block the flow of oxygen to the brain. The brain senses a lack of oxygen and wakes the body up just long enough to take a breath, then the body falls back asleep. This cycle repeats throughout the night and causes poor, disruptive sleep. When left untreated, OSA can cause vehicle and workplace accidents, worsening mood and memory, stroke, heart attack, and even death.
There are many different sleep apnea treatment options available. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the most commonly used treatment for OSA. CPAP uses a mask and hose to blow pressurized air into the airway to keep it open during sleep. This treatment works well for some patients, however studies show about 50% of people who are given a CPAP machine don’t use it. Other treatment options include oral appliances and major anatomy altering surgeries.
Inspire therapy represents a significant advancement in treating sleep apnea. It is clinically proven to reduce sleep apnea events and also has a high level of patient satisfaction and therapy adherence.
Inspire - How It Works
Inspire therapy is safe and clinically proven. Recently published data shows patients using Inspire experience:
79% reduction in sleep apnea events
88% reduction in bed-partner reported snoring
91% overall patient satisfaction
These significant reductions and improvements were sustained over a five-year follow-up period.
Inspire therapy is an FDA-approved breakthrough obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) treatment option for those who cannot use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy.
The Inspire system is made of a small battery and 2 small wires. Inspire is placed under the skin of the neck and chest through three small incisions during an outpatient procedure. Most patients return home the same day and return to non-strenuous activities within a few days. Over-the-counter pain medicine is typically used for a few days after the procedure for pain management.
Inspire is controlled by the patient using the small, handheld Inspire Sleep Remote. The Inspire Sleep Remote is used to turn Inspire on before bed and off in the morning. Additionally, the patient can pause therapy during the night if needed and increase/decrease therapy settings.
Inspire is indicated for patients who are:
Diagnosed with moderate to severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (AHI–the number of times they wake up each hour between 15-65)
Unable to use or get benefit from CPAP
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does Inspire therapy work?
Inspire therapy works inside your body with your natural breathing process to treat obstructive sleep apnea. It continuously monitors your breathing patterns while you sleep. Based on your unique breathing patterns, the system delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles which keeps the airway open while you sleep. The Inspire system is controlled by a small handheld sleep remote, and consists of three components: a small generator, a breathing sensor lead, and a stimulation lead. Simply turn the therapy on at night before bed, and off in the morning when you wake up.
Is Inspire therapy covered by insurance?
Inspire therapy is being reviewed and approved by insurance providers on a case by case basis. The Insurance Team at Inspire Medical Systems, your Inspire trained doctor and you will work as a team to gain insurance approval. 75% of people who submit for insurance approval get it and the procedure is not scheduled until it’s been approved.
How much will I have to pay out of pocket for this procedure?
Every insurance plan is different. Typically, patients can expect to pay the cost of any unmet deductible for the year, along with any required copay or coinsurance fee for a surgery. The Insurance Team at Inspire Medical Systems and your Inspire trained doctor will help you through this process.
Do I need to get approval from my insurance before my first visit?
No, you do not need to have prior approval from your insurance company for the therapy prior to your first clinic visit. Your medical care team will work together to determine if Inspire therapy might be right for you. If you qualify for Inspire therapy, your Inspire trained doctor will work with you, the hospital, and your insurance company for approval.
Is Inspire therapy DOT approved?
The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires commercial drivers to be compliant with their sleep apnea treatment in order to keep their license. Similar to CPAP, an Inspire doctor can print out a usage record of Inspire therapy to show the medical examiner that you are using your prescribed sleep apnea treatment. By proving compliance, there should be no issues renewing your commercial driver's license.
Will Inspire therapy help with snoring?
Data from the STAR clinical trial showed that 86% of bed partners reported either no snoring or soft snoring by their partners using Inspire therapy after twelve months.
What does the stimulation feel like?
You should feel a mild sensation from the stimulation. Typically, patients feel a tingling sensation or mild contraction in their tongue muscles. The stimulation should not be painful or uncomfortable and the level is adjustable. Your Inspire therapy-trained doctor will make any adjustments as needed.
How long does the battery in Inspire therapy last?
The battery in Inspire therapy is designed to last for approximately 11 years. The battery cannot be recharged so once the battery runs out, you will need to have it replaced. This is a very common procedure with many implanted devices, including pacemakers.
What does the surgical procedure involve?
The Inspire system is typically implanted during an outpatient procedure. The system is placed under the skin of the neck and chest through three small incisions.
How long is the recovery time after surgery?
Recovery time after surgery will vary from patient to patient, but you can expect some pain and swelling at the small incision sites for a few days after the implant. Most patients return home the same day and take over-the-counter pain medication if needed. You can resume normal, non-strenuous activities within a few days or as directed by your doctor. Most patients have a full recovery within a couple of weeks.
Am I still a candidate for Inspire therapy if I have a pacemaker?
Having a pacemaker does not disqualify you from becoming a candidate for Inspire therapy. The Inspire trained doctor will evaluate your sleep apnea history and overall health, including heart health, before deciding if Inspire is right for you.
Will the Inspire system limit my activities?
Generally, inspire will not limit normal daily activities. However, you should ask your Inspire trained doctor about any activities that are particularly strenuous, like weight lifting, or those that entail a large or unpredictable range of motion in your upper body and/or arms, such as working as a firefighter.
How often should my doctor check the Inspire system?
Generally, the Inspire system should be checked 1 to 2 times a year. However, your Inspire trained doctor may want to see you more or less often, depending on your situation.
What types of medical imaging are compatible with the Inspire system?
All Inspire patients can undergo most imaging technologies across the entire body including CT, ultrasound, and X-ray scans. Depending on the model of your Inspire system, you may be able to undergo MRI on the head and extremities, provided certain conditions and precautions are followed. If you are a current Inspire patient, please visit the "For Inspire Therapy Patients" section of the website to learn if your device allows MRI Conditional scans.
Is it ok to use a microwave oven and common household appliances after my procedure?
Yes, you may use a microwave oven and any common household appliances that do not emit strong magnetic fields. If you have concerns, consult with your Inspire therapy-trained doctor.
(Inspire Patient Testimonial Video)
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Signs of Sleep Apnea & Other Sleep Disorders
At Pinehurst Surgical, our sleep specialists are trained to recognize a variety of sleep disorder symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders include:
Extremely loud snoring
Repeating patterns of ‘snore, pause, gasp’ revealing breathing stops and starts
Waking up frequently
Extreme sleepiness during the day
Falling asleep while at work or while driving
Workplace accidents or car crashes
Mood or behavior changes
More frequent illnesses
Loss of interest in sex
Male erectile failure
Downloadable Patient Education (PDF)
If you believe you may be suffering from a sleep disorder, don’t hesitate to contact Pinehurst Surgical at (910) 235-7034 to schedule an appointment for a sleep consultation at our state-of-the-art sleep lab. Our sleep study procedures have helped thousands of patients across Central NC suffering from sleep apnea and much more.
If you are ready to schedule an appointment at one of our Ear, Nose, Throat, Head & Neck Centers, please contact us today at (910) 235-4034 and ask to speak with an ENT specialist. Current patients of Pinehurst Surgical may also request an appointment with one of our Pinehurst, NC otolaryngologists using their online Patient Portal Page.
Pinehurst Surgical is a multi-specialty clinic comprised of ten specialty centers located in a state-of-the-art surgical facility in Pinehurst, NC. Our ENT physicians provide allergy care and treatments at our Pinehurst, Raeford, Rockingham, Sanford and Troy clinical offices, serving patients in Southern Pines, Fayetteville, Red Springs, Asheboro and all surrounding areas throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond.