Helping Patients Sleep Easier: 150 Inspire Surgeries
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."
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through four hospitals, four emergency departments, and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites. Each day, our 8,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable health care–through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services–that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit metrohealth.org.