What Is Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation?

 Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation: The Treatment You’ve Been Hearing About Explained

You may have been hearing about a treatment mentioned in Chicago ENT’s office or on the Chicago ENT website—hypoglossal nerve stimulation. But what exactly is it? And who might be a candidate for it?

What Is Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) causes the airway to narrow or close off, reducing or stopping breathing for varying periods of time during sleep. This occurs because during sleep, the tongue relaxes and rolls back into the throat obstructing the airway. Hypoglossal nerve stimulation treats OSA by delivering mild stimulation to the tongue during sleep, thus maintaining tone in the tongue to keep it from falling back. In a simple sense, when we are awake, we maintain tone; hypoglossal nerve stimulation keeps the tongue ‘awake’ during sleep. This is achieved by implanting a small device which operates similar to a cardiac pacemaker—except that instead of sending pulses to the heart, the implanted device sends mild pulses to the hypoglossal nerve in the neck. Tiny electrodes extend from the device to wrap around the nerve. The pulsing of the electrodes leads to the contraction of the genioglossus muscle, the major muscle responsible for tongue protrusion, maintaining the tone of the tongue, preventing airway collapse, and increasing airflow. Unique stimulation patterns are created for each patient to ensure the tongue remains ‘awake’ and the airway remains unobstructed allowing the patient to breathe normally during sleep. The device is controlled by a battery-operated remote that initiates pulsing once the patient is asleep.

Are You a Candidate for Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation?

Hypoglossal nerve stimulation implant therapy was designed for the treatment of patients with moderate to severe OSA who have been unable or unwilling to use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. It is a solution that has changed the lives of individuals implanted at Chicago ENT.  To see patient testimonials, please click on the following link: https://chicagoent.com/sleep-apnea-hypoglossal-nerve-stimulation-clinical-trial-videos/

Hypoglossal nerve stimulation implant therapy helps patients live longer and enjoy better lives through a CPAP alternative, mask-free treatment. For additional information, and to see if you might be a fit for Chicago ENT’s ongoing clinical trial with hypoglossal nerve stimulation, please call (773) 296-5500.