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Genioglossus Advancement for Sleep Apnea

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What is genioglossus advancement?

Genioglossus advancement is an inpatient sleep apnea surgery that pulls the primary muscle of the tongue (the genioglossus) forward, permanently repositioning the tongue to expand and stabilize the airway. The surgery makes it less likely that the tongue will collapse into the airway and obstruct breathing during sleep. It is often done in conjunction with other procedures, such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) or maxillomandibular advancement surgery to treat more severe cases of sleep apnea. The procedure is performed in a hospital operating room under general anesthesia.

Why is genioglossus advancement performed?

Genioglossus advancement surgery treats:

  • Enlarged tongue
  • Limp tongue muscles
  • Snoring
  • Sleep apnea caused by an enlarged tongue or weak tongue muscles

What does genioglossus advancement surgery involve?

First, patients undergoing hyoid suspension are first given under general anesthesia to ensure comfort throughout the procedure.

Then, a board certified eos sleep doctor will make an incision inside the lower lip. The chin muscle and other soft tissues are gently pulled aside to expose the central part of the lower jaw. Your doctor carefully cuts a small rectangular window below the lower front teeth to grasp the spot where the genioglossus tongue muscle attaches. The small rectangle of bone is then pulled forward (with the genioglossus muscle attached) and turned slightly to advance the anchor point of the tongue. A small titanium screw is inserted to hold the rectangular fragment in its new place and secure it to the lower jawbone.

Last, the doctor will reposition the chin muscle and soft tissues in the original position and close the incision using stitches. Patients are kept for observation for 1-2 days after the procedure.

What are the benefits of genioglossus advancement surgery?

  • Continued relief from airway obstruction
  • Enlarged breathing passage
  • Increased airflow
  • Significant, long-term improvement of snoring
  • Loss of obstructive sleep apnea symptoms
  • Patients leave hospital within 1 to 2 days
  • No effect on patient speech and swallowing
  • Minimal pain and swelling in lower front teeth area

If you are suffering from sleep apnea and believe you may benefit from genioglossus advancement surgery, the first step is to consult with a sleep health expert. Ear, nose, and throat specialists at eos sleep have extensive experience in treating sleep apnea with genioglossus advancement surgery. Call 1-800-EOS-SLEEP today or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment or to learn more about eos sleep treatment options.

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