Trident physician recognized as national physician of excellence

Source: Live 5
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 4:40 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2022 at 7:30 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - One Trident Medical physician is being recognized as a national Physician of Excellence for his work with obstructive sleep apnea patients in the Lowcountry.

Approximately 10 percent of South Carolinians suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

The award is for the success he has had implanting a surgical device, called a hypoglossal nerve stimulator, which he said can be life changing for some patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

It’s an FDA-approved surgical treatment, that Dr. Lentsch described as a pacemaker for sleep apnea. It stimulates the patients’ tongue muscles while they sleep, in order to prevent it from blocking their throats and obstructing their breathing.

However, this treatment is not for all obstructive sleep apnea patients. Dr. Lentsch said it is specifically for patients who haven’t had success with c-pap machines or aren’t able to tolerate them.

He said he has been implanting these devices for over 10 years with around a 90 % cure rate, which is why he was recognized on the national scale. There are only 38 Physicians of Excellence in the country.

“I think we’ve proven that we’ve exceeded national standards for cure rates with sleep apnea with hypoglossal nerve stimulation therapy and shown that we can do it as well or better than anyone else in the country,” Dr. Lentsch said.

Dr. Lentsch encouraged those who believe they could qualify for this procedure to consult their primary care physician or sleep specialist.