Commonly Asked Questions about Inspire for Sleep Apnea

At ENTCET, we can answer all your questions about Inspire for sleep apnea

If you have suffered from sleep apnea for a long time and you have been searching for a better treatment solution, perhaps you have heard of Inspire – a treatment that 94% of patients agree is preferable and works better than continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

ENT Consultants of East Tennessee (ENTCET) is one of the state’s leading clinics for treating sleep apnea, and in this article, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Inspire.

What is Inspire?

Inspire is the only FDA-approved, fully implanted device for sleep apnea that helps you breathe more easily during sleep.

If you have sleep apnea, you might stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep. This can happen many times throughout the night, making it hard to get a good night’s sleep, and it can lead to daytime fatigue. It can also put you at risk for serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

How does Inspire work?

Inspire is a small device that is implanted in your chest under your skin, much like a pacemaker is implanted under the collarbone. The device has two main parts: a sensing lead and a stimulation lead. The sensing lead monitors your breathing patterns during sleep. The stimulation lead sends mild pulses to your tongue, which moves your tongue forward, away from your throat, and keeps your airway open.

Inspire is controlled by a small handheld remote. You use the remote to turn the device on before you go to sleep. The device will then automatically turn itself off when you wake up.

What device is worn by a person with sleep apnea?

In the past few decades, sleep apnea patients have been treated with CPAP machines, but up to 50% of users find these inadequate or intolerable due to having to wear a mask over their face or nose all night, plus trying to sleep with the tube going from the mask to the noisy CPAP machine.

Inspire is a newer, implanted device invented in the last five years that users are much more satisfied with. No mask is necessary.

Does Inspire work?

Inspire has been shown to be an effective treatment for sleep apnea in clinical studies. In one study, over 79% of people who used Inspire had a significant reduction in their apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), which is a measure of how often you stop breathing during sleep.

Ninety percent of recipients’ partners report no snoring or soft snoring, and 91% of recipients are satisfied with Inspire.

Is Inspire sleep safe?

Yes. Inspire is a safe and effective treatment for sleep apnea. The device has been tested in clinical studies and has been shown to be safe and well tolerated.

Does Inspire work for central sleep apnea?

Inspire is not currently approved for the treatment of central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is a less common type of sleep apnea that occurs when the brain doesn’t send signals to the muscles that control breathing. Inspire is only approved for use in people with obstructive sleep apnea, which is the more common type.

Interested in a better solution for treating your sleep apnea? Book a consultation with one of East Tennessee’s best sleep apnea experts.

What are the side effects of Inspire?

The most common side effects of Inspire include soreness or tenderness at the implant site, throat pain, and temporary weakness in the tongue. These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own.

Serious side effects are rare, but can include infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. If you experience any of these side effects, you should contact your doctor right away.

Am I a good candidate for Inspire?

You are a good candidate for Inspire if you have been diagnosed with moderate to severe sleep apnea, you have been medically proven to find inadequate relief from using a CPAP machine, your BMI is normal, and you are over the age of 18.

How much does Inspire cost?

The cost of Inspire varies depending on your insurance coverage. Contact your insurance provider to find out if Inspire is covered. Insurance companies will only cover the cost if your sleep study proves that CPAP does not adequately treat your sleep apnea.

A lot of sleep apnea sufferers see Inspire commercials and think that while they use their CPAP every night, they would like to try Inspire. However, unless they use their CPAP less than 5 nights per week, Inspire is not recommended and will not be approved by insurance. When a CPAP machine is set to the right settings, it usually is 90+ percent effective, meaning that if you started out at a score of a blocked airway 20 times per hour, you would expect it to get your score down to fewer than two times per hour.

With Inspire, there is a range of 60-100% improvement, so it is currently a second-line therapy for CPAP intolerant patients.

How long does it take to get Inspire?

The entire process from the initial consultation to the final follow-up visit can take six months to one year. Depending on where you are in your workup, it takes 4-12 weeks from the initial visit to implantation. Patients are then using it and receiving benefit 1 month after implantation.

How can I get Inspire in East Tennessee?

If you think you might benefit from Inspire therapy, schedule a consultation at ENT Consultants of Tennessee. We will assess you for candidacy, and if you haven’t had a recent sleep study, the first step is to do a sleep study to see if Inspire is right for you.

Schedule a consultation for Inspire here.

If you are a good candidate for Inspire, we will implant the device under your skin in your chest and connect the leads to your tongue. Once the device is in place, you will need to have some follow-up visits and then regular checkups to make sure the device is working effectively.

We look forward to helping you get a good night’s sleep every

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Jaron Densky, M.D.

Jaron is a native of Morristown, TN and is honored to serve as an otolaryngologist in his home state. He is a lifelong Tennessee Volunteer and has deep roots in the East Tennessee region. He provides expert-level comprehensive ENT care to the community and has a specific interest in treating patients with obstructive sleep apnea. He appreciates the importance of listening and tailoring a care plan to each patient’s particular needs. He believes that optimal treatment is delivered when the provider and patient are making decisions together. His extracurricular activities include spending time with his wife and daughter, reading, mountain biking, cycling, and running.

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