My doctor says there are some experimental procedures going on in Europe at this time but doesn't know a whole lot about it yet. It has something to do with implanting a device kind of like at a pace maker which will stimulate your tongue when you quit breathing. Sounds a little extreme to me but when one gets desperate they'll try anything.
I spoke to a sales rep for the company making these devices, at a recent conference in Amsterdam.
Currently there is a sizeable clinical trial going on in Belgium. The device is like a pacemaker, about 2 inches square and a half inch deep. Two wires extend, one to the lung/heart area and one to the hypoglossal nerve. Basically the device senses breathing (or lack of) and if necessary electrically stimulates the hypoglossal nerve to keep the airway open.
It has to be inserted under general anasthetic.
I asked about cost......they anticipate approx €20,000 to include surgery !!!!
Company developing this is Inspire Medical.
A similar type device was trialed back in the late 90's early 00's, and failed. Mainly down to poor batteries. Apparantly this technology has improved and the promotors are talking a 7/9 year battery life.
There was a study in 2001 by AR Schwartz....only 8 patients and the findings were that it demonstrated the feasability and therapeutic potential for hypoglossal nerve stimulation in OSA.
Nothing really concrete.