Dr Ben Cilento, Physician of Excellence for the Inspire Implant in Houston Texas

Cheerful senior woman in bed at home getting up.

Transforming the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Sleep Apnea

By now anyone who has been following me on this blog or as the snoring doctor on Instagram knows the story of how I developed sleep apnea and then was responsible for bringing the Inspire implant to Texas.

I was the first Surgeon to successfully perform an inspire implant in the state of Texas. Since that time I have done nearly 300 of them and have a 91% cure rate overall. This is a full 12 percentage points above the rest of the country. I attribute this to our absolute maniacal pursuit of quality in everything we do.

Remember that sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, leading to fragmented sleep and oxygen deprivation.

For those with moderate to severe sleep apnea, finding an effective treatment can be life-changing. The Inspire implant is a groundbreaking medical device that offers a new and innovative approach to treating sleep apnea.

This essay will delve into the distinctions between sleep apnea and snoring, explore the main diagnostic criteria for sleep apnea, review the available treatment options, and highlight the significant benefits of the Inspire implant based on the AdHERE and STAR studies.

Every year the Inspire company chooses only a few doctors nationwide to become physicians of excellence based on their overall performance and quality outcomes.

I am excited to be one of those physicians and I am excited to be recognized as among the BEST ENT surgeons in Houston based on my outcomes in this area.

Sleep Apnea vs. Snoring:

It is essential to know the difference between snoring and sleep apnea, as they are often conflated but represent distinct conditions.

Snoring is a common occurrence characterized by noisy breathing during sleep, often caused by vibration of the soft tissues in the upper airway. While snoring can disrupt sleep quality for the individual and their partner, it does not necessarily indicate the presence of sleep apnea.

However, once you start snoring you are at great risk for developing sleep apnea if you do nothing about it.

Snoring and sleep apnea are caused by a progressive weakening of the structures of the back of the throat mixed with a nasal obstruction.

Once you start snoring you get worse faster since you are combining aging with mechanical trauma of snoring every night… it's like city miles vs highway miles.

Eventually, snoring becomes sleep apnea, a more serious condition involving recurrent breathing cessations during sleep, which can lead to significant health implications if left untreated.

The two primary types of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), caused by the obstruction of the airway during sleep, and central sleep apnea, which involves issues with the brain's signaling to respiratory muscles. It is crucial to recognize the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, and morning headaches, and seek proper diagnosis and treatment when necessary.

Older lady showing fatigue from sleep apnea.

Diagnostic Criteria for Sleep Apnea:

The diagnosis of sleep apnea typically involves a comprehensive evaluation of the patient's symptoms, medical history, and a sleep study.

The gold standard for diagnosing sleep apnea is an overnight polysomnography (PSG) or a home sleep apnea test (HSAT). These tests monitor various physiological parameters during sleep, including oxygen levels, breathing patterns, heart rate, and brain activity, to assess the presence and severity of sleep apnea.

Key indicators of sleep apnea include a high apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), which measures the number of breathing pauses per hour of sleep, and a low oxygen saturation level during apneic events.

Other diagnostic criteria may include daytime symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, memory problems, and difficulties concentrating, which significantly impact the individual's quality of life.


Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea:

The management of sleep apnea aims to alleviate symptoms, improve sleep quality, and reduce associated health risks.

Common treatment options for sleep apnea include lifestyle modifications, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, oral appliance therapy, and surgical interventions such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) or bimaxillary advancement surgery.

Despite the availability of these treatments, adherence to CPAP therapy remains a significant challenge for many patients due to issues such as discomfort, mask leakage, and claustrophobia.

As a result, alternative therapies like the Inspire implant have emerged as promising solutions for individuals with moderate to severe sleep apnea who struggle with CPAP compliance.

portrait of smiling senior woman with raised arms

The Inspire Implant: Advancing Sleep Apnea Treatment:

The Inspire implant, also known as hypoglossal nerve stimulation therapy, represents a revolutionary approach to treating moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.

The implant works by delivering mild electrical pulses to the hypoglossal nerve, which controls the movement of the tongue and other upper airway muscles. By stimulating these muscles during sleep, the airway opens up, allowing for improved breathing and reduced apnea events.

Studies such as the AdHERE and STAR trials have demonstrated the effectiveness and superiority of the Inspire implant compared to CPAP therapy for select patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea.

The AdHERE study showed a significant reduction in AHI and improvement in oxygen saturation levels among patients using the Inspire implant, leading to enhanced sleep quality and daytime functioning.

Similarly, the STAR trial showcased the long-term efficacy and safety of the Inspire implant, highlighting substantial improvements in AHI, oxygen desaturation index, and quality of life measures compared to CPAP therapy.

These findings underscore the transformative benefits of the Inspire implant in providing a comfortable and efficient alternative for patients seeking effective treatment for sleep apnea.


At Texas Sinus and Snoring, we are pioneers of all types of treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. No one does more for your sleep than we do.

One of these innovative treatments is the Inspire implant. It represents a groundbreaking innovation in the management of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, offering a minimally invasive and highly effective treatment option for individuals who struggle with CPAP adherence.

By addressing the underlying anatomical factors contributing to airway obstruction during sleep, the Inspire implant has the potential to significantly improve sleep quality, reduce apnea events, and enhance overall well-being for patients with sleep apnea

Through advancements in medical technology and research, the Inspire implant stands as a promising solution to revolutionize the treatment landscape for sleep apnea and empower individuals to reclaim restful and rejuvenating sleep.

Come see us for an evaluation.