How Does A Sleep Apnea Implant Work?

Keith Lovell / July 13, 2022



When a person has sleep apnea near me, they frequently stop breathing while they are asleep. It might result in poor brain communication, upper airway blockage, or both. A sleep apnea episode may last 10 seconds or more and repeat throughout the night.

Obstructive sleep apnea can harm a person’s quality of life and is linked to primary medical conditions like heart disease, stroke, and behavioral difficulties. Such conditions require sleep apnea implant treatment.

Hypoglossal nerve stimulation implantation surgery is a unique treatment for sleep apnea in Houston when other treatment options are unsuccessful.

How does a sleep apnea implant work?

To improve breathing, surgeons install an artificial device called an implant into the patient’s body. It is also known as a hypoglossal nerve stimulator or an upper airway stimulation device. It is an effective sleep apnea treatment near me.

Currently, the only FDA-approved sleep apnea implant for treating moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea is the Inspire upper airway stimulation device (OSA).

An otolaryngologist or ear, nose, and throat specialist will perform Implant surgery. The professionals will install a pacemaker-like device surgically beneath the skin in the upper right chest.

A sleep apnea implant detects a person’s breathing pattern, producing gentle electrical impulses to open the airways. There are four primary sections, which are as follows:


Surgeons put the generator below the collar bone of the patients to generate the electrical impulse.

Breathing sensor:

They connect the breathing sensor to the generator and implant it in the side of the chest close to a person’s ribs.

Stimulation electrode:

The surgeon connects a wire from the generator to the hypoglossal nerve. The other end of the wire functions like a stimulation electrode that joins a bunch of the hypoglossal nerves of the tongue.


The remote controls the intensity of stimulation or pauses the neurostimulation. The breathing detectors sense breathing and transmit the signals to the generator during inhalation and exhalation.

Once the electrical impulses stimulate the hypoglossal nerve, the tongue muscles open up the upper part of the airways. It allows for improved airflow and reduces sleep apnea. You can use the remote control to regulate the device. Your doctor may educate you about the management of the device.

Who is the suitable candidate for sleep apnea?

Your surgeon may perform an in-depth evaluation, referred to as drug-induced sleep endoscopy, to determine whether you are suitable for implant surgery. The evaluation method includes using an extended thin tube-like camera to evaluate a person’s upper airways. The surgeons attempt this method using anesthesia.

Moreover, you are a suitable candidate if;

  • The age is eighteen plus.
  • You have moderate to severe OSA
  • The BMI is lower than thirty-two.
  • The results of drug-induced endoscopy confirm that you are a suitable candidate.
  • You are unable to go through the tonsils removal procedure.
  • You do not get effective results from other OSA treatments.

A person should stay away from sleep apnea implants if they:

  • are pregnant or intend to become pregnant regularly require or obtain an MRI scan have an inadequate upper airway as assessed by sleep endoscopy
  • are unable to use the remote control, suffer from a condition that could obstruct their upper airway, or have any procedures are done that could harm their upper airway
  • possess an implanted gadget that can communicate with the sleep apnea gadget

Book an appointment with specialist sleep doctors to have a precise diagnosis & treatment.