Ground-breaking New Treatment Option for Sleep Apnea

About Dr. Belinda Mantle

Dr. Mantle’s practice is focused on the diagnosis and management of pediatric patients with common ears, nose and throat disorders. She pursued sub-specialty training in pediatric otolaryngology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Dr. Mantle is fellowship-trained in pediatric otolaryngology and is a board-certified diplomate of the American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery.

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About Dr. Ryan Osborne

Ryan F. Osborne, M.D. is the Director of Head and Neck Surgery at OHNI and is an internationally renowned expert in head and neck oncology. He has developed a special interest for the treatment of parotid gland tumors and focuses on the use of minimally-invasive techniques in the care of patients needing parotid surgery.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a serious medical condition, where collapse of the airways during sleep results in obstruction of airflow. Oxygen levels decrease and the sufferer wakes up to relieve the obstruction and recover oxygenation. This series of events results in periodic awakenings throughout the night and may happen over 40 times per hour in severe cases. Aside from problems associated with poor sleep quality, including daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and poor work performance, OSA is also a risk factor for stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attack.

What are the treatment options?

Previously, there have been only suboptimal medical and surgical treatment options for OSA. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices required the patient to wear a mask attached to a machine while sleeping. The machine delivers pressurized air to overcome the collapse of the airway. Understandably, this had been difficult for patients to tolerate, as falling asleep is uncomfortable, and mask shifting during the night is common. Back sleeping is necessary and traveling becomes very laborious.

Surgical treatments offer successful alternatives for some who cannot tolerate CPAP. Tonsillectomy and partial palatectomy (called a UPPP or uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) has resulted in a cure for some patients, as has nasal surgery. However, these surgeries have specific criteria that do not fit all sufferers, and some still do not experience a cure. More aggressive surgery, such as a jaw and midface advancement, alter facial appearance. And while tracheostomy is a definitive treatment, most patients find this option socially unacceptable.

Are there better treatment options?

A new treatment option has been developed for patients with moderate to severe OSA. Upper Airway Stimulation Therapy (UAST) involves implanting a generator (similar to a pacemaker) under the skin of the chest and a stimulator device near nerves of key muscles. Based on the patient’s unique breathing patterns, the system delivers mild stimulation to airway muscles, keeping the airway open. This effectively treats pauses in breathing and reduces drops in blood oxygen. Currently, Inspire Medical Systems is the only manufacturer of an FDA approved upper airway stimulation device that has been proven to show benefit through clinical studies.

Why do I even have to treat my sleep apnea?

There are many reasons, social and medical, to treat sleep apnea. Socially, the snoring associated with sleep apnea keeps your bed partner awake, resulting in significant strain to the relationship.

Medically, moderate to severe sleep apnea can increase blood pressure resulting in heart disease and may cause a stroke. Uncontrolled OSA may also affect your cognitive abilities and contribute to the development of diabetes.  Treating sleep apnea has proven to reduce the risk of these problems.

Dr. Ryan Osborne of the Osborne Head and Neck Institute is currently evaluating patients to determine if they are appropriate candidates for this potentially life changing intervention. If you or someone you love is suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, please schedule an evaluation to have them appropriately counseled about all the medical and surgical treatments available.

To learn more about Dr. Belinda Mantle or treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, please visit