Tests begin with magnetic device to treat sleep apnea

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (WPVI) -- Tests have begun on an innovative new device for sleep apnea - one that uses a magnet.

The device is called Magnap.

When air passages begin to relax and close at night, Magnap uses 2 magnets to hold them open.

One goes into the patient.

"A small incision is made and the magnet is placed under the skin and secured to the bone with a couple of stitches," says surgeon Dr. Jolie Chang, of the University of California-San Francisco's Mt. Zion campus.

Then at night, a patient puts on a collar with a second magnet.

It pulls the implanted magnet forward, opening the airway.

The only significant side effect has been a temporary soreness on swallowing.

Users do wear a special tag warning doctors and first responders against putting a patient in an MRI.

Right now, the University of California-San Francisco is the only test site for Magnap.

This small-scale trial should wrap up late next year, with the hope bigger ones could start after that.

For more on Magnap, click here.

For detailed information on the study, go to clinicaltrials.gov.