Cleveland, OH,
09:46 AM

Helping Patients Sleep Easier: 150 Inspire Surgeries

Mark Weidenbecher, MD

MetroHealth's Mark Weidenbecher, MD, recently achieved a major milestone with his team by successfully performing his 150th Inspire surgery to treat sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition when breathing stops or becomes shallow during sleep and is more common than you might think. It's almost as prevalent as diabetes and asthma in adults.

Dr. Weidenbecher, an otolaryngology (Ear, Nose and Throat) surgeon, began implanting the Inspire device at MetroHealth about three years ago. He has since become a leader in the procedure, with patients traveling beyond the region for the surgery. Inspire is a small implantable device that helps patients by opening up their throat, allowing them to breathe normally when sleeping so that CPAP is no longer required.

"We've been progressive about providing a comprehensive and tailored treatment plan for our sleep apnea patients by establishing a multidisciplinary team approach. As part of that, we've pioneered a minimally invasive two-incision approach for Inspire. It's now FDA-approved," says Dr. Weidenbecher, who relied on his expertise as a surgeon performing complex head and neck cancer surgeries to perfect his Inspire device installations.

Dr. Weidenbecher works closely with doctors at the MetroHealth Center for Sleep Medicine, a nationally recognized program offering comprehensive care for sleep disorders.

John Carter, MD, the Associate Director of the MetroHealth Center for Sleep Medicine, says Inspire is a great tool for treating sleep apnea. Patients who receive an Inspire device are managed by Sleep Center doctors, who also offer a full spectrum of treatment options. MetroHealth's Sleep Medicine experts work with patients to provide comprehensive care for sleep disorders including sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, parasomnias, and more.

"We have multidisciplinary professionals such as pulmonologists, neurologists, psychologists, ENT surgeons, cardiologists, dentists and oral surgeons, weight loss specialists and pediatric sleep specialists. They all collaborate in the care of patients who have sleep apnea or other sleep problems," Dr. Carter says.

Due to the work the MetroHealth team is doing with advanced technologies, collaborative approaches, and even clinical trials, both Drs. Weidenbecher and Carter say MetroHealth is a leader in treating sleep apnea.

"I want providers and patients to know that we have many options besides CPAP, and most of the time we're able to find a solution. We can individualize care and we have the experience and expertise," Dr. Weidenbecher says.

Dr. Carter says the Center for Sleep Medicine wants to ensure that patients get the best possible care for their sleep apnea. "We don't want patients to give up. They have options. Even if they're not a good candidate for Inspire, they can get dental, nonsurgical or other treatments. We will work to customize a treatment plan for your sleep."

About The MetroHealth System

The MetroHealth System is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.

The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, two-thirds of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center.

As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.

Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.

The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.

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