Hyoid Advancement for Sleep Apnea: The Basics

April 2, 2023

Filed under: Other Topics — Dr. Steve Koo @ 5:19 pm
Illustration highlighting hyoid bone in neck

When it comes to treating sleep apnea, nonsurgical intervention is usually the preferred course of action. Things like small lifestyle changes and a custom oral appliance can do much to improve nighttime breathing. But what if your condition is severe? Your care provider might recommend that you undergo a procedure known as hyoid advancement for sleep apnea. What does the surgery involve? How can it protect your health? Read this blog to find out.

What Is Hyoid Advancement Surgery?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when tissues in the throat block the free flow of air, leading to repeated pauses in breathing. Your hyoid is a small bone in your neck that is attached to both your tongue and pharynx.

During hyoid advancement surgery (also known as hyoid suspension), the hyoid bone is moved into a forward position. This slight adjustment can stabilize the airway, widening it and preventing the tongue from collapsing and interfering with the quality of your breathing.

What Happens During Hyoid Advancement?

Hyoid advancement surgery is fairly minor, but it is usually performed under general anesthesia to allow for optimum patient comfort. During the procedure, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon carefully creates an incision in the neck in order to access the hyoid and gently move it. The hyoid is then secured in place before the incision is sutured shut. Usually, it is possible to hide the scar from this surgery in a natural crease in the neck.

Most patients are able to go home within twenty-four hours of their procedure, and it is common for them to go back to work within two weeks or so.

Benefits of Hyoid Advancement Surgery

Granted, the prospect of undergoing surgery on your neck can seem a bit intimidating. However, if more conservative OSA treatments have not provided the desired results, this procedure could be exactly what you need. Here are some of its most noteworthy benefits:

  • It can permanently widen your airway, allowing for increased oxygen flow.
  • It can greatly reduce or even eliminate snoring.
  • It has the potential to eliminate your OSA symptoms (or, at the very least, greatly reduce them).
  • Because it can reduce or eliminate OSA, it may reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening health problems.

Is Hyoid Advancement Right for You?

Hyoid advancement is just one of several surgeries that may be used to address severe OSA. After an expert analyzes your airway and your oral structures, they can determine what procedure would be most beneficial for you. Generally speaking, hyoid advancement is suitable for patients with a large tongue or weak tongue muscles.

Hopefully, you will not have to undergo surgery to find freedom from OSA. If you do, though, you can look forward to easier breathing and better sleep.

Meet the Practice

The team of doctors at Piney Point Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery offers a number of different surgeries that aim to help patients find freedom from obstructive sleep apnea. We also offer several non-invasive OSA treatment options. If you would like to learn how you could achieve higher-quality rest, contact our Houston office at 713-783-5560.

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