The genioglossus is the major muscle responsible for protruding (sticking out) the tongue. In some people, the position of the tongue is positioned posteriorly in the mouth in a way that obstructs the airway, which can cause snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). To correct this, a surgical treatment called genioglossus advancement pulls the genioglossus muscle forward, permanently repositioning it. Subsequently, the airway is expanded – resulting in increased airflow to the body.
Genioglossus advancement is known to provide important benefits related to sleep apnea, including:
While genioglossus advancement is an effective procedure on its own, it is commonly done at the same time with hyoid suspension and uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), which significantly increases the chances of successfully treating sleep apnea.
The genioglossus advancement procedure is performed in an operating room under general anesthesia to maximize your comfort. During the surgery, an incision is made inside the lower lip or under the chin. The chin muscle and other soft tissues are temporarily cleared away to expose the central part of the lower jaw. A small cut is made in the lower jaw below the lower front teeth to capture the area of attachment of the genioglossus muscle. This bone is moved forward and turned slightly to stabilize the muscle more anteriorly. A small titanium screw is then used to hold the bone fragment in place by securing it to the lower jawbone. The chin muscle and soft tissues are repositioned, and stitches are used to close the incision. After the procedure, patients are generally kept for observation for one to two days. There is typically minimal pain or swelling after surgery and there is also no permanent effect on patient speech and swallowing. Before you leave the facility, our team will provide detailed instructions on post-surgical care and follow-up.
Genioglossus advancement for the treatment of sleep apnea is usually covered by health insurance when it is medically prescribed specifically for the treatment of sleep apnea. The only way to receive coverage for any sleep apnea treatment is to have a sleep test conducted by a recognized sleep center and board certified physicians like those at NYC SleepWell. That’s why it’s important to schedule an appointment with NYC SleepWell. Based on an oral history and physical exam, we’ll determine if further testing is required. Our financial specialists are always available to help gather your insurance information and contact your insurance provider in order to determine your coverage. Please feel free to call us to schedule your appointment and answer any questions you may have.
Led by Dr. Ruben Cohen, a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, our skilled team of sleep specialists, ENT surgeons, dentists and anaesthesiologists have extensive experience in genioglossus advancement — in addition to other surgical treatments for a wide array of conditions related to sleep apnea. For your added peace-of-mind, our facility is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF), the Gold Standard in Accreditation. Our goal at NYC SleepWell, plain and simple, is to help you sleep well – and be healthy!