CONWAY, Ark. – A local hospital is the first to offer a new solution for patients with sleep apnea.

The condition affects more than 20 million people a year.

Typically doctors offer a CPAP machine to help keep air flowing while those affected sleep, but there is some new technology out there.

The medical device would eliminate the bulky machine, hoses, and mask. It is known as “The Inspire” sleep apnea device.

“It’s like a small pacemaker that goes under the chest. It’s the only part that the patient would be able to see or feel,” explained Dr. Patrick Fraley.

Dr. Fraley is the only doctor in the state of Arkansas performing the outpatient surgery. He offers it at Baptist Health Hospital in Conway.

It is a small implant that connects with a wireless remote about the size of a computer mouse.

“What makes it different is it is a dynamic treatment for sleep apnea. Everything else we are just kind of throwing things at you to push the airway open and keep it open. This is something that works inside your body with your body to treat it,” Dr. Fraley went on to say.

The device has been around for a few years but was not covered under insurance. Now, most companies do cover the surgery and Dr. Fraley said many of his patients are opting in.

He adds it is wireless and does not need a power source, which makes it attractive to most patients.