If you have mild sleep apnea, simple lifestyle changes such as losing weight or positional changes during sleep may improve your symptoms. A dentist can also fit you with a special mouthpiece that aligns your jaw while you sleep. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices are other very common treatments for sleep apnea. They consist of a mask that fits over your mouth and nose during sleep and softly blows air into your throat to keep your airway open. We also conduct surgery to widen breathing passages by shrinking, stiffening or removing excess tissue in your mouth or throat.
We are particularly excited about a new upper airway stimulation treatment called Inspire Therapy. A University of Minnesota Health team was the first in the Twin Cities to successfully implant Inspire Therapy, an innovative treatment option that targets the nerves that control the muscles of your airway. The device consists of a small generator, which is implanted under the skin of your chest, along with two thin leads that are connected to the generator. One is a breathing sensor, which monitors your breathing patterns while you sleep. The other delivers stimulation to your airway muscles.
Our team implants the device during an outpatient procedure, so you can go home the same day. The device is turned on three to four weeks after your surgery, at which time your physician will establish your personal therapy settings and show you how to use the device.
Inspire Therapy is for people with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea who are not receiving consistent benefits from CPAP devices.
Many of the physicians at University of Minnesota Health participate in research. Ask your physician if you might be eligible for a clinical study.