Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is a therapeutic technology that could transform the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with sleep apnea. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue.
How it Works
Where the beams converge, focused ultrasound produces thermal ablation of a portion of the tongue, which helps prevent the tongue from obstructing the airway while sleeping.
The primary options for treatment of sleep apnea include continuous positive pressure devices or invasive surgery for an implanted system to stimulate this nerve.
While significant work has been accomplished, there is still much to be done before this technology will be widely available.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications – such as like surgical wound healing or infection – at a lower cost. Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue, and it can be repeated, if necessary.
At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients for focused ultrasound treatment of sleep apnea. However, a clinical trial is being organized on this topic in the US.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for sleep apnea is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
Kaffenberger TM, Soose RJ. Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Compend Contin Educ Dent. 2023 Jun;44(6):332-339.PMID: 37418470
Click here for additional references from PubMed.