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Massachusetts Eye and Ear
/assets/MEE/images/mgb-default-thumb.png Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation

Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery

Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation

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Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is critical to improving quality of life as well as long-term heart and brain health. For adults with moderate to severe OSA who are unable to tolerate positive airway pressure therapy, hypoglossal nerve stimulation, or upper airway stimulation, has been a major advance in OSA treatment.


The hypoglossal nerve stimulator is an implanted medical device that reduces the occurrence of OSA by electrically stimulating the hypoglossal nerve, which causes tongue movement. This stimulation is timed with breathing to relieve upper airway obstruction. The hypoglossal nerve stimulation system is fully implanted beneath the skin and controlled with a remote, allowing patients to sleep free from devices on the face or in the mouth.

The current FDA-approved device is made by Inspire Medical Systems© and has been available since 2014. Since that time, more than 6,000 hypoglossal nerve stimulator implants have been placed around the world with excellent results in terms of bed partner and patient satisfaction as well as measures of sleep apnea, snoring, and quality of life improvement.

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At Mass Eye and Ear, we have surgeons specially trained in hypoglossal nerve stimulation.

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