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UAB Sleep Center named Center of Excellence for obstructive sleep apnea treatment

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The Inspire Institute Excellence Program named UAB Sleep/Wake Disorders Center a Center of Excellence for hypoglossal nerve stimulator implantation, a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Kirk Withrow, M.D., Associate Professor and Director of Salivary and Sleep Surgery in the UAB Department of Otolaryngology, was the first surgeon in Alabama to implant a stimulator device, six years ago.

Now, the hypoglossal nerve stimulator implantation program, led by Withrow, is among the top three programs in the world for case volumes and positive outcomes.

The Inspire Institute Excellence Program also honored Dr. Withrow as a Physician of Excellence. The excellence program recognizes physicians and their teams who demonstrate commitment to high-quality patient care and achieve exceptional outcomes.

“Sleep apnea is a serious issue and can have significant effects on health and well-being, beyond the issues of snoring or lack of sleep,” Withrow said. “We’re very pleased to be able to offer this as an alternative therapy for our patients with obstructive sleep apnea.”

The device includes a breathing sensor, a stimulation lead, and a small remote. The stimulation from the device moves the tongue slightly forward and out of the airway, allowing for more normal airflow. The therapy continuously monitors a patient’s breathing while asleep.

 “For the appropriate patient, this therapy is an excellent alternative to other surgical options for treating OSA,” Withrow said.