Does Inspire For Sleep Apnea Require Surgery?

Feb 01, 2022

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing stops and starts repeatedly. Sleep apnea symptoms include loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, insomnia, irritability, and morning headaches and tiredness.

What Is Inspire For Sleep Apnea?

Inspire is a hypoglossal nerve stimulator that helps with obstructive sleep apnea. It is a surgical treatment option that a doctor implants surgically to activate the hypoglossal nerve in tightening the tongue muscles and upper airway when sleeping to improve airflow and reduce sleep apnea.

The inspire stimulator is suitable for people with moderate to severe sleep apnea and a body mass index (BMI) less than 32. Furthermore, those with non-compliance with continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) therapy after a trial can use the inspire stimulator

Inspire Surgery

If you qualify for inspiring sleep apnea surgery, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist will place inspiration during surgery under general anesthesia. The specialist will place a stimulation wire leading to the hypoglossal nerve to wrap one of its distal branches during the procedure. The Sleep Apnea Treatment specialist further places a second sensing lead along the rib cage. The sensor detects breathing to stimulate the tongue muscle and airway at the proper time as you draw breath in.

Finally, the specialist places the stimulator in the right upper chest wall while connected to the sensors. An inspire placement surgery takes about two hours, and if there are no complications, a patient can go home the same day.

Although most people do not require narcotic pain medications after the surgery, it is best to avoid strenuous activity for about two to three weeks. Also, you can consume your regular diet without any modifications.

How Effective Is Inspire For Sleep Apnea?

Inspire airway stimulation is effective for people with moderate to severe sleep apnea, especially when CPAP is not tolerated. The treatment improves excessive daytime sleepiness and also reduces sleep apnea. However, when the device is turned off, sleep apnea returns.

Side Effects And Risks Of Inspire

Most people tolerate the treatment immediately after the surgery. Some people find the sensation in their tongues uncomfortable after activating the device during sleep. However, this side effect rarely requires intervention.

Additional side effects of inspiration include nerve damage, infection, discomfort from stimulation, excessive bleeding, and allergic reaction to implanted materials. Other side effects include dry mouth, insomnia, difficulty swallowing, restrictions on tongue movement, and persistent pain at the implant site.

Follow Up Procedure

After completing the surgery, you need to visit your surgeon for a post-operative check after 7 to 10 days. After a month, the device is turned on. Surgeons recommend having an in-center sleep study after two months to assess the effectiveness of the treatment and adjust the settings.

Device Use

After getting the inspiration for sleep apnea surgery, you have to activate the stimulator before sleeping. Usually, there is a delay of 30 minutes before the stimulation begins. The device is often set to turn off after 8 hours. If you wake up during the night, you can pause the device.

What Is The Cost Of Inspire Surgery?

The inspire device and the expenses associated with the surgery cost between $30,000 and $40,000. Also, you can replace the battery for $17,000. Sometimes, insurance covers these costs.


Obstructive sleep apnea can cause sleep disruptions and morning tiredness. Fortunately, Inspire for sleep apnea is a surgical procedure that improves airflow, reducing sleep apnea symptoms.

If you’re experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, you can visit a dentist near you or book a dentist appointment at Compassion Smiles Dentistry in Coppell, TX, about the inspiration for sleep apnea.

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