The tongue is majorly composed of muscles. The biggest muscle in the tongue is the genioglossus, and it is attached to the central part along the inner area in the lower jaw. Genioglossus advancement catches the area along the bony attachment and shifts it forward. By shifting the main anchor point of the tongue forward, the method opens up a room where the tongue can relax while the individual sleeps without any obstruction in the throat. The result would be the stabilization and an enlargement of the airways.
This method is done for individuals who have obstructive sleep apnea, and it is done in the operating room with general anesthesia. The incision is done in the lower part of the lips. The soft tissues and chin muscles are cleared out to reveal the center of the lower jaw. Small rectangular cuts are done along the lower jaw under the front teeth to catch the place of attachment with the genioglossus muscle.
The rectangular bone is shifted forward and slightly tuned. Small titanium screws are utilized to set the bone fragments in place and secure what remains of the lower jaw. The soft tissues and chin muscle are substituted, and stitches are utilized to close incisions. The lower jawbone and teeth are not moved.
There are always risks to any operation, and the risks involved in genioglossus advancement include the following:
- Bleeding. Just like any process, the risk of bleeding is always there. Bleeding in areas may be lethal if it occurs under the tongue and is strong enough to shift the tongue backward. Basically though, there is only minor oozing for the incision in the lower lip. A main method of preventing this kind of bleeding is using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, herbal medications, or vitamin supplements two weeks before surgery. It is also advisable to do this routine after surgery. Thorough management of one’s blood pressure will decrease the risks of bleeding, and patients who go through the procedure will require close monitoring the night after the surgery to evaluate their blood pressure.
- Infection. Infection usually occurs when, during the procedure, the incision in the lower lip shifts apart. To avoid such occurrence, it is quite helpful for individuals to stop talking, unless it is really essential, for three days after the surgery. Patients must also take antibiotics during the surgery to minimize the chances of having infection. Careful monitoring of the patients’ condition after surgery must be done in order to avoid infection.