Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the leading therapy for sleep apnea. Patients wear a face or nasal mask during sleep directing positive airflow into the throat and/or nasal passage to keep the airway open. Research shows that CPAP decreases daytime sleepiness, especially in those who have moderate to severe sleep apnea.
All of the CPAP units available through the Chicago Sleep Center offer lifetime wireless remote access to compliance data through ResMed Airview software. By activating remote monitoring, you can view and change therapy settings anywhere, anytime. This can reduce lengthy phone calls, unnecessary device returns, and unscheduled home visits.
Chicago Sleep Center offers a variety of alternative treatments to sleep apnea including oral appliances, Radiofrequency, Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation treatment, and more. Be sure to inquire with your Chicago Sleep Center sleep expert to see which CPAP alternative treatment is right for you.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). A custom-fit oral sleep appliance can improve your sleep, restore your alertness, and revitalize your health. Worn only during sleep, an oral appliance fits like a sports mouthguard or an orthodontic retainer. It supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway.
There are two important points to consider with oral appliances:
- Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) is recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) as one of the first-line treatments for patients diagnosed with mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The AASM also recommends oral appliances for patients with moderate to severe OSA, who are unable to tolerate or cannot wear Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices.
- Oral appliances are typically covered by medical insurance benefits but are not covered by dental insurance. Chicago Sleep Center is in-network with most insurances to cover oral appliance devices and oral appliance titration.
As a convenience to our patients, Chicago Sleep Center offers an on-site dentist for easy access to oral appliances.
The Pillar Implant
The Pillar Implant is a minimally invasive treatment option for mild to moderate palatal sleep apnea and snoring. The procedure places three tiny inserts in the patient’s soft palate, causing the palate to stiffen. The stiffening helps to prevent or lessen blockages of the airway—effectively treating sleep apnea and substantially reducing the severity of snoring in most individuals.
Pillar inserts are 18 mm in length and made from a woven soft polyester material that has been used for many years in implantable medical products. The Pillar Procedure is conducted in a single, short, in-office setting using local anesthetic and is completely reversible.
Office-Based Nasal Procedures
Our office-based nasal procedures include minimally invasive techniques to improve the nasal airway, such as the Nasal Valve Procedure and Radiofrequency Turbinate Reduction (RFTR).
RFTR is a minimally invasive surgical option that can reduce tissue volume in a precise, targeted manner. This technique uses radiofrequency to create lesions within the submucosal tissue of the turbinate, reducing tissue volume with minimal impact on surrounding tissues. RFTR differs fundamentally from traditional methods by using low-power radiofrequency energy to provide a relatively quick and painless procedure for tissue coagulation.
Radiofrequency is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure that reduces and tightens excess tissue in the upper airway responsible for obstructive sleep apnea, including the base of tongue which is the most difficult to treat the source of the obstruction.
Over a period of three to eight weeks, the treated tissue is reabsorbed, leading to volume reduction and improved airway obstruction. The procedure itself typically takes 30 to 45 minutes, with only 2 to 4 minutes of actual energy delivery.
Behavior modification techniques or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are aimed at changing sleep habits and scheduling factors, as well as misconceptions about sleep and insomnia, that perpetuate sleep difficulties. In fact, the recent National Institute of Health state-of-the-science meeting on insomnia concluded that CBT is a safe and effective means of managing chronic insomnia and its effects.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia includes regular, often weekly, visits to a clinician, who will give the patient a series of sleep assessments, ask the patient to complete a sleep diary, and work with the patient in sessions to help change the way the patient sleeps.
CBT may also include Stimulus Control Instructions which are created by looking at the patient’s sleep habits and pinpointing different actions that may be prohibiting sleep. Additionally, the process is tailored to Sleep Hygiene Education, a customized list of things one should and should not do in order to sleep.
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In the event that more conservative treatments have failed, surgical techniques to alleviate airway obstruction are often straightforward and effective.
Inspire Sleep Apnea Therapy
Do you have sleep apnea? Do you find yourself tired during the day and unable to get a good night’s sleep even with a CPAP machine?
Looking for an alternative treatment in the Chicago area? Inspire may be the treatment that you need.
Inspire is an implantable device designed to help patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) who haven’t found relief using a CPAP machine. There are many OSA patients who can benefit from Inspire. Chicago Sleep Center is now offering this therapy option for patients with sleep apnea.
How Does Inspire Work?
Inspire is a small device that’s implanted in the body. This occurs during a minimally invasive, two-hour outpatient procedure.
The device is designed to stimulate your hypoglossal nerve. The hypoglossal nerve is the nerve in your body that controls the tongue’s muscle movements.
OSA often develops as a result of the tongue blocking the airway while you’re asleep. Inspire sends a gentle electrical impulse through the hypoglossal nerve. This signals the tongue to move out of the way each time you draw a breath.
The device is implanted at three points right under the skin. The main device is first implanted on the upper chest.
This is then connected to a sensor placed on the lower chest and one placed under the chin where your hypoglossal nerve is located. After implanting the device, it’s controlled by a remote that’s used to turn it on before you go to sleep.
Is Inspire Right for Me?
Before you can undergo Inspire sleep apnea therapy, you first need to be officially diagnosed during a full sleep study. After receiving an OSA diagnosis, you’ll discuss treatment options with your doctor.
At this point, your doctor can then determine if you may be a potential candidate for Inspire. There are a few key factors that could indicate you may be a good candidate, including:
- You have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea
- You are unable to use or get consistent benefit from CPAP
- You are not significantly obese
- You are age 18 or above
If your doctor thinks you may be a candidate for Inspire, you’ll then need to have an airway exam. This is an exam conducted through a drug-induced sleep endoscopy or DISE.
The airway exam is a very routine and non-surgical exam. You are given a short-acting medication to put you to sleep. While you’re asleep, a camera records how your airway opens and closes. The whole exam takes about 20 minutes, and when you’re done, you’ll find out if Inspire is right for you!
What is Sleeping with Inspire Like?
After having Inspire implanted, using it is simple. You turn it on with a remote before you go to sleep.
When you’re awake during the day, the device is never turned on so you don’t feel anything the majority of the time. When the device is on, it sends gentle impulses t
hat make sure your tongue moves forward whenever you take a breath to keep your airway unobstructed.
This pulse stimulates your motor functions rather than any sensory nerves. It isn’t something you feel in the same way you would feel a touch or a pinch.
While the device is on, patients do report feeling this pulse before they fall asleep but the majority don’t find it bothers them. With Inspire making sure your airway remains unobstructed, you’ll be able to get a full night’s sleep.
Wondering if Inspire may be right for your sleep apnea needs? Contact Chicago Sleep Center to request more information!
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WatchPAT Sleep Apnea Test
We are proud to now offer the WatchPAT Sleep Apnea Test by Itamar Medical! Unlike traditional Sleep Apnea testing, where patients have to stay at a testing facility, WatchPAT can be used from the comfort of your own home! The device is simple, reliable, and is the first fully disposable sleep apnea test!
How does it work?
WatchPAT is like a smartwatch and is worn on the wrist with a finger probe that goes onto the pointer finger. The probe applies uniform pressure, which enables optimal signal quality, and precise measurements. WatchPAT is able to classify the different sleep stages and the wrist actigraph differentiates when you are asleep, or awake!
WatchPAT connects to your smartphone to collect and send results through a secure server to your sleep physician. Your sleep physician can then read and interpret the results to determine if you have Sleep Apnea, and prescribe the appropriate treatment option. WatchPAT is disposable, so there is no need to return the device!