Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation

Hypoglossal nerve stimulation is used in obstructive sleep apnea. Stimulating the genioglossus muscle in the upper airway makes it contract, which widens the airway. The stimulation is applied during sleep in order to increase airflow. Neurostimulation is reserved for patients who have trouble tolerating the standard obstructive sleep apnea treatment, a sleep mask that provides continuous positive airway pressure.

Obstructive sleep apnea

In obstructive sleep apnea, soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses into the airway for a few seconds at a time, causing pauses in breathing and disturbed rest. (Image: Wikimedia.)

Reviewed March 4, 2012
Lawrence Poree, MD, PhD
Member, International Neuromodulation Society
Professor, University of California School of Medicine, Department of Anesthesia, San Francisco CA, USA

Last Updated on Monday, November 22, 2021 11:05 AM