The genioglossus muscle is an important muscle of the oral cavity connecting the chin to the tongue.Highly stressed during speech and chewing, this muscle essentially allows the tongue to go out and down.
On the one hand, the tongue is made up of intrinsic muscles making up the mass of the tongue itself and, on the other hand, of extrinsic muscles surrounding the tongue.
The genioglossus muscle is one of the four extrinsic muscles of the tongue. It is responsible for the genital processes of the lower jaw, located on the inner surface of the chin. This muscle is inserted at the hyoid bone and at the base of the tongue and is innervated by what is called “the vagus nerve”.
The contraction of the genioglossus stabilizes and opens the airways at the level of the oropharynx and the hypopharynx.
In contrast, relaxation of it is often involved in obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a sagging airway during sleep.
The region posterior to the base of the tongue, often involved, is therefore responsible for obstructing the passage of air.
The advancement of the genioglossus muscle stabilizes the airways and clears the airways at this level, through an anterior movement of the genial processes to which the muscle is attached.
The advancement of this muscle causes an anterior movement of the tongue and its base, thereby clearing the airways during sleep.
Alone, the advancement of the genioglossus muscle is not enough to treat sleep apnea satisfactorily, in most cases.
This procedure is therefore used in conjunction with other surgical techniques, in particular in combination with advancement of the upper and lower jaws.
Advancement of the genioglossus has a similar purpose to “advancement genioplasty” or “genioplasty with advancement of the maxilla” by orthognathic surgery.
All of these surgeries stabilize the airways by clearing them through the advancement of the genioglossus muscle.
This relatively simple intervention technique, performed under general anesthesia, is one of the many possibilities in genioglossergical surgery to correct sleep apnea.
During the operation, the part of the bone attached to the genioglossus muscle is cut.
Then, the surgeon positions this part more anteriorly, slightly turns the bone and finally, places a titanium screw to fix the new desired position. The soft tissue can then be closed with stitches.
The procedure does not disturb or affect the teeth in any way.
The recovery from this procedure is approximately one week. The associated or associated risks are limited.
Following this procedure, the only or more frequent complication is possibly temporary numbness of the lower lip and chin.