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No Mask, No Hose, Just Sleep.

Surgically-implanted sleep apnea device becomes newest alternative treatment for sufferers of sleep apnea

Sleep ApneaEvery night millions of Americans go to bed and drift into an evening of sleep that is anything but restful. They snore, gasp for air and their breathing slows or stops throughout the night affecting oxygen levels. The condition - known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – afflicts about 9 percent of women and 24 percent of men, most of them middle-aged according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Those with OSA suffer night after night and jeopardize their health says Kenneth Scott, a doctor at Midwest Ear, Nose & Throat, who is also board certified in Sleep Medicine.

“Not only does sleep apnea cause chronic sleeplessness, it also increases the risk of hypertension, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and even sudden death,” he says.

Dr. Scott explains there are three ways to address OSA – a custom dental appliance, a CPAP, and now surgery.

“The mainline therapies chronic sleep apnea sufferers have often turned to have been a custom dental implant or a nighttime device called a CPAP, for continuous positive airway pressure. The machine provides constant positive pressure when the sleeper breathes in and out. It requires a mask that must be properly applied to form a tight seal around the nose and mouth and is the most common method of addressing sleep apnea.”

Though the CPAP and dental appliances offer some relief, says Dr. Scott, a new treatment option involves a minimally invasive surgical procedure using a medically implanted device, eliminating the need for a mask and hose connection.

“The device looks similar to a Pacemaker and is implanted in the patient. The patient uses a remote control to turn it on at night, so it can deliver mild stimulation to airway muscles during sleep,” says Dr. Scott.

The procedure takes about two-three hours and most patients go home the same day, he says.

Inspire, a Plymouth, MN medical device company, developed the FDA-approved airway stimulation treatment which moves the tongue forward and keeps the airway open at night.

Dr. Scott sees the surgical alternative as effective. Besides eliminating the evening hassle of attaching a CPAP mask and hose, patients are experiencing more restful sleep.

“A lot of patients can’t tolerate their CPAP and have chosen a surgical approach to their sleep apnea. Over ninety percent have been satisfied with their results,” he says, “and the severity of apneic events tends to be decreased by 80%.”

It’s all about getting a good night’s rest, says Dr. Scott.

“We all sleep,” he says. “It is very important to have the best quality of sleep we can as sleep affects so many areas of our lives.”

By: Virginia Olson - Sioux Falls Woman Magazine

Midwest Ear, Nose & Throat
2315 West 57th Street  •  Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57108  •  605-336-3503  •  Toll-free 888-336-3503  •  Fax 605-336-6010