Is Genioglosus Advancement Surgery A Good Option For Treating Sleep Apnea?

Sometimes, a contributing factor to the development of sleep apnea is the tongue collapsing into the back of the throat and blocking airway passages. There are a couple of different ways this problem can be treated, but a dentist or oral surgeon may recommend genioglosus advancement surgery as a permanent way to fix the issue. But how successful is this surgery at minimizing or eliminating sleep apnea?

How Genioglosus Advancement Surgery Works

The objective of this surgery is to increase the size of the airway passage and add tension to the tongue to prevent it from collapsing backwards by pulling the organ forward. To that end, an oral surgeon will cut a small rectangular window of bone where the genioglosus muscle attaches to the jaw, pull the piece forward, twist it slightly, and then secure the fragment in place with a screw. The procedure is typically done under general anesthesia and requires the patient to remain in the hospital for a couple of days afterwards for monitoring.

This surgery is almost always performed in conjunction with other oral procedures aimed at correcting additional issues contributing to sleep apnea. For example, the surgeon may also perform uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) to remodel the tissues in the back of the throat to stop them from collapsing into airway passages.

If successful, the procedure can significantly improve air flow and alleviate sleep apnea.

Success Rate

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, genioglosus advancement surgery has a success rate of 61 percent when paired with other oral treatments. As noted before, this procedure is rarely performed alone, so there are currently no statistics available about the success rate of genioglosus advancement surgery by itself.

There are several things that can influence the success of this procedure including the severity of your sleep apnea, the size and anatomy of your tongue, the position of your jaw, and your overall health. An oral surgeon can tell you how likely the procedure will work for your specific case.

Possible Side Effects

After the surgery, you may experience numbness in your lower lip, difficulty swallowing, and mild pain for a few weeks. Like with any other type of surgery, there is a risk of infection that can be controlled with the use of antibiotics. The surgery itself may cause damage to the teeth, requiring extraction at a later date, and jaw fractures are also possible.

The risk of experiencing these side effects, however, can be minimized by choosing a skilled doctor to do the procedure. For more information about genioglosus advancement surgery, connect with an oral surgeon in your area. To learn more about oral surgery, speak with someone like Iowa Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, PC.