November 2020 | Reviewed by: Imran Shaikh, MD and Shelley Hershner, MD
What is upper airway stimulation therapy?
Patients who struggle with CPAP therapy may be a candidate for upper airway stimulation to treat their sleep apnea. For this treatment, a device that monitors your breathing while you sleep is implanted with a surgical procedure. The device can stimulate your airway to help keep it open during sleep.
The device is implanted near the neck and chest in an outpatient procedure. You control it with a remote and turn it on before going to sleep. As you sleep, the device stimulates the hypoglossal nerve that controls your tongue’s movements, pushing it out of the way to keep the airway open.
To be eligible, you must have moderate to severe sleep apnea and cannot tolerate CPAP or oral appliance therapy. You must be at least 22 years old and not significantly overweight. You will have to meet with an ear, nose and throat surgeon to see if this procedure is an option for you. You can expect to have a sleep study before and after the procedure.