Sleep Apnea Surgery

For more information, call Middlesex Heath Sleep Medicine at 860-358-4615 or request an appointment online.

Inspire Surgery (Upper Airway Stimulation)


The millions of Americans who suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea now have an alternative to CPAP treatment with the Inspire Procedure.

Upper airway stimulation, also known as hypoglossal nerve stimulation, is an entirely different way to treat sleep apnea. 

During the surgery, a small implantable pacemaker-like device is inserted into the body, which helps stabilize the throat while sleeping by gently stimulating throat muscles and allowing the airway to remain open. 

This surgery has a high success rate, a fast recovery timeline, and minimal complications, making it an excellent choice for many patients.

Inspire Therapy is not for everyone, and patients will have to meet several characteristics:

  • Be 22 years of age or older.
  • Have moderate to severe OSA (AHI range from 15-65 with <25% central/ mixed apneas)
  • Be unable to use a Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
  • BMI less than 35

This is an outpatient surgical procedure. You will receive general anesthesia so that you do not feel pain or remember the surgery.

Two small incisions are made:

  • One incision in the chest, near the collarbone, to place the battery device
  • One incision under the chin to place a wire that connects with the hypoglossal nerve

Once the device is implanted and connected to the stimulation wire, the incisions are closed. Patients are able to go home the same day. Most patients experience only minor pain or discomfort following the procedure.

The first step is to allow the surgical incisions to heal completely, ensuring the device will remain in the correct location. Healing usually takes about a month, and the device remains inactive during this time.
One month after surgery, the device is activated. You will be able to control the device with a remote. The device is turned on at bedtime and turned off in the morning. While asleep, the device monitors sleep patterns and stimulates the hypoglossal nerve to ensure normal breathing.
The device may require periodic adjustments to achieve and maintain the proper level of nerve stimulation.

The battery lasts for about 11 years. When it needs to be replaced, you will need a minor surgical procedure to change the battery.

The device does not affect most normal activities, including swimming and other water activities. Limitations are similar to those for patients with a pacemaker device. You can go through metal detectors at the airport but should alert TSA agents about your device.

Any surgical procedure has a risk of bleeding or infection. Your surgeon will discuss all possible risks with you before your procedure.

TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS)

Middlesex Health is proud to be the only facility in Connecticut offering robotic surgery to treat sleep apnea. The purpose of this surgery is to reduce the size of the base of the tongue, to minimize obstruction caused by the tongue during sleep.
TransOral Robotic Surgery is a revolution in sleep medicine because it is a minimally-invasive approach to treating sleep apnea. The da Vinci® Surgical System gives surgeons unprecedented dexterity, precision, and vision of the surgical field, so they can perform the surgery through a patient's mouth.
In the past, this surgery required a large incision in the neck and jaw - and sometimes even the need to break the jaw. This led to long recovery times for patients. TORS eliminates the need for this approach, so you can get back to your life faster and with less pain.

Patients that undergo this procedure complete the following steps:

  • Pre-Surgery Assessment: Patients visit their surgeon's office for an assessment, which includes a review of recent sleep studies. Patients are also evaluated with a scope. This exam allows the doctor to determine the level of tissue obstruction.
  • TORS Surgery: Patients undergo the da Vinci® Robot-Assisted procedure in the hospital. Most patients will stay in the hospital for 1-2 days after their surgery.
  • Recovery: Full recovery is expected to take about three weeks.
  • Follow-Up Sleep Study: About three months after surgery, patients complete a new sleep study to ensure that the procedure was successful.

Like other da Vinci® Robot-Assisted surgeries, the TORS procedure has numerous benefits.  For most patients, the procedure eliminates the need for standard sleep apnea treatments, such as a mouthpiece or breathing device. Other benefits include:

  • very few incisions
  • less scarring
  • shorter recovery time
  • less time away from your day-to-day life

TransOral Robotic Surgery is designed for patients with obstructive sleep apnea.  Your doctor will discuss all of your options with you and help you determine the best course of treatment.

To learn more or request a consultation, please click the "Request an Appointment" link at left.