Tongue (Genioglossus) Advancement Surgery in Foley & Daphne, AL


What is tongue / genioglossus advancement surgery?

For some, the tongue is the main cause of airway obstruction which leads to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and chronic snoring. The tongue is primarily composed of muscle. The largest muscle of the tongue is called the genioglossus, and therefore this surgery is sometimes called genioglossus advancement surgery. This muscle attaches to the central area on the inner side of the lower jaw. Tongue advancement surgery at ENT Centers of Excellence in Foley & Daphne, AL captures this area of the tongue and permanently repositions it to a slightly more forward position.

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Why is tongue / genioglossus advancement performed?

Tongue advancement surgery may be recommended for patients whose primary cause of sleep apnea and snoring is related to a large tongue and/or poorly toned tongue muscles. If you have failed to achieve successful relief using other snoring and sleep apnea treatments, this surgery may be considered.

By moving the major anchor point for the tongue forward, the procedure:

  • Creates more room for the tongue to relax during sleep
  • Enlarges and stabilizes the airway
  • Prevents obstruction and allows for better breathing during sleep

What does tongue / genioglossus advancement surgery involve?

The genioglossus advancement procedure is performed as an outpatient surgery. It involves Dr. Kowal making a small incision inside of the lower lip in order to make a small rectangular cut in the lower jaw, which is then moved forward and turned slightly. Once this is complete, the bone will be secured in place and the tissues will be sutured back into place.

What are the advantages of tongue / genioglossus advancement?

Tongue advancement offers a number of advantages, including:

  • A permanently enlarged breathing passage that increases airflow
  • Continued relief from airway obstruction
  • Significant, long-term improvement of snoring
  • Significant, long-term improvement of obstructive sleep apnea symptoms

What does tongue / genioglossus advancement recovery involve?

Most patients are able to leave the hospital within a few days. Recovery guidelines after genioglossus advancement include:

  • Elevate your head at 45 degrees while sleeping for the first few days
  • Stick to a liquid/soft diet for the first few weeks after tongue advancement surgery
  • Make sure to drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration, even if it’s painful
  • Take pain medication as needed
  • Avoid strenuous activity, but make sure to engage in light exercise such as walking to avoid post-surgery complications

Dr. Keith Kowal, a highly experienced ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist in Foley & Daphne, Alabama, is an expert in enhanced treatment for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, including the tongue (genioglossus) advancement procedure. If you have OSA symptoms or chronic snoring and want to do something about it, you can trust Dr. Kowal and his 30 years of experience. His goal is to help his patients breathe better and sleep better to live better! A consultation with Dr. Kowal is the first step to a good night’s sleep and a healthier lifestyle for you and your bed partner. To find out whether you’re a candidate for tongue advancement, call 251.943.1117 today to schedule an appointment or simply fill out the form on this page.

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