Can genioglossus advancement surgery (tongue advancement) cure sleep apnea? Read more about the benefits and side effects of genioglossus surgery.
One of the most frequent causes of upper airway blockage in obstructive sleep apnea is the tongue. It can collapse toward the back of the throat during sleep, therefore contributing to obstruction of the airway.
To improve the collapsibility of the tongue, you can choose tongue retaining devices, or in severe cases - surgery, such as tongue advancement and tongue reduction.
The genioglossus is the largest muscle of the tongue that runs from the back of the chin (genial tubercles) to the tongue. A relaxation of this muscle together with jaw and neck muscles during sleep is implicated in obstructive sleep apnea.
The reason for this obstruction is that by relaxation of the tongue muscle during sleep, this muscle could obstruct the airway passage by falling backwards.
Here is how this muscle looks:
Because the genioglossus muscle plays a major role in nocturnal airway obstruction, the surgery will place this muscle under tension, thus restricting the collapse of the tongue into the airway during sleep.
But where is this muscle situated? This 3D look at the tongue muscles should answer this question:
Because the genioglossus muscle from the tongue is attached to the back of the chin (genial tubercles), the surgeon will pull a small segment from the chin forward and the tongue will advance as well, so that it is less likely to collapse and block the airway during sleep.
Of course, the small segment will have to be cut surgically from the mandible (inferior sagittal osteotomy of the mandible) to be pulled forward (in exterior).
So the surgery starts with an incision approximately 10 mm below the mucogingival junction (the junction between the soft mucus membrane of the oral cavity and the gingiva). The cut will have a rectangular shape.
This rectangular small bone will be partially rotated to prevent retraction back into the floor of the mouth, and immobilized with a titanium screw.
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia with intubation, where the tube is passed through the mouth and vocal apparatus into the trachea to improve ventilation during surgery.
Here are some criteria to understand if you can have success with this therapy:
Bottom line... Search for a surgeon that has a lot of experience with genioglossus advancement surgery for sleep apnea, or choose other procedures with less complications.
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