The operation begins with a small incision under the neck (usually in an area that is not visible). The hyoid bone, located above your Adam’s apple, is the only bone that does not connect to any other bone. Instead, the hyoid bone supports muscles that are connected to the back of the throat and tongue. Sutures are placed around the hyoid and brought forward toward your chin to give support to the muscles that support the back of the throat. This movement widens the airway in the deep throat. The suture is then tied to the inside of the jawbone with a small screw that you should never feel.

The tongue may then be “suspended.” By placing another stitch around the back of the tongue to prevent the base of the tongue from slipping back at night, like a hammock. You should not feel the suture.

Diagram of suspending the tongue using the AIRvance system.

Diagram of suspending the tongue using the AIRvance system.

The operation begins with a small incision under the neck (usually in an area that is not visible). The hyoid bone, located above your Adam’s apple, is the only bone that does not connect to any other bone. Instead, the hyoid bone supports muscles that are connected to the back of the throat and tongue. Sutures are placed around the hyoid and brought forward toward your chin to give support to the muscles that support the back of the throat. This movement widens the airway in the deep throat. The suture is then tied to the inside of the jawbone with a small screw that you should never feel.

The tongue may then be “suspended.” By placing another stitch around the back of the tongue to prevent the base of the tongue from slipping back at night, like a hammock. You should not feel the suture.

FAQ about Hyoid and Tongue Advancement

How long does the procedure take?

Dr. Pasha is quite proficient at hyoid and tongue suspension techniques. He is a consultant through Medtronics for this procedure. Although every case is different, he typically can complete both procedures within 20 minutes.

Are these procedures covered by insurance?

For the most part, Yes. Medicare typically covers the hyoid procedure as well as most private health plans. The tongue suspension is not always covered. Insurance coverage varies based on insurance providers, our center will help you check your specific situation to see what your insurance coverage may be.

If the procedure is covered, private health plans typically require Dr. Pasha‘s staff to submit paperwork for preauthorization of an elective surgery for obstructive sleep apnea.

Does it hurt?

As a stand-alone procedure, this operation is well tolerated. Discomfort varies from patient to patient. If no other procedure is performed you may anticipate a few days of soreness around the incision site.

Do these procedures alter my speech or swallowing?

Not for the long term. For some, you may have 1-10 days of swallowing or speech issues. Typically, this resolves on its own.

What can I eat after the procedure?

If no other procedure is performed, a soft diet may be recommended for a few days before resuming a normal diet.

FAQ: Problems Identifying Source of Sleep Apnea

Why is sleep apnea so difficult to diagnose? Dr. Pasha explains why in this informative video.

Watch Here

How Obstructive Sleep Apnea Can Affect Your Health

Living without regular sleep is like operating machinery that hasn’t received maintenance in years. While you can occasionally have a bad night’s sleep and probably be okay, going long periods of time without deep sleep can cause the body unnecessary wear and tear.

Read More

Schedule an Appointment