Who is the Best Candidate for Tongue Advancement

couple sleeping - man snoring

Sleep apnea can take a toll on your overall health in many ways. Tongue advancement is a procedure that involves moving a tongue muscle forward to prevent it from falling back while you’re sleeping.

Good Candidates for Tongue Advancement

You might be a good candidate for tongue advancement surgery if you have an enlarged tongue or weak tongue muscles. If these conditions cause you to develop sleep apnea, this surgery may be a suitable option. In general, those who suffer from sleep apnea make the best candidates.

How do you know if you have sleep apnea? This condition typically causes loud snoring. You might also wake up suddenly during the night more than once and have shortness of breath immediately afterward. Other symptoms include morning headaches, a dry mouth in the morning, daytime sleepiness, trouble concentrating and mood changes.

How to Prepare for Tongue Advancement

Your surgeon will provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare for tongue advancement surgery. Keep in mind that you’ll be given general anesthesia before surgery starts. Your surgeon will first make an incision inside the lower part of your lip, and then move the muscle and tissue inside your chin. This helps provide access to your lower jaw. Your surgeon then reaches the tongue muscle and pulls it forward while it’s attached to the bone, which serves as a new anchor spot. This new position is then held in place with a titanium screw. After this occurs, your surgeon will place your chin muscles and tissue in their natural position and close your incision.

Recovery Process

During the recovery process, you can expect to be kept under observation for a couple of days. You might need to restrict certain activities until you’re fully healed. You should avoid speaking for a few days post surgery to allow your tongue muscle to rest and heal. You'll also need to eat soft foods for one to two weeks since you might have trouble swallowing. Avoid eating and drinking hot foods and beverages. During the recovery process, you'll need to sleep with your head elevated and avoid any activities that might require you to move your head around a lot. You’ll need to keep an eye on your incision for signs of infection and keep it clean.

Benefits of Tongue Advancement

This type of surgery offers several benefits for those who suffer from sleep apnea. It provides ongoing relief from airway obstruction, so you can sleep interrupted. You’ll end up with a larger breathing passage and improved airflow. After having the surgery, you should experience relief from sleep apnea symptoms and improvement in snoring. This surgery doesn’t affect your ability to speak or swallow, and it typically produces only minor pain and swelling.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, please contact ENT Centers of Excellence for more information on a customized treatment plan.

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