Millions of people battle sleep apnea every night. While there are many conditions that can cause a sleepless night, one involves an abnormality with the tongue that causes an obstruction of breathing. Dr. Stephen Schendel is a Palo Alto plastic and maxillofacial surgeon who offers genioglossus advancement, which treats the tongue. The genioglossus is the largest muscle of the tongue. It attaches to the central area on the inner side of the lower jaw. During surgery, the area of bony attachment, which is the major anchor point for the tongue, is cut and moved forward. This creates the additional space that is often needed for the tongue to settle and relax during sleep, which stabilizes the airway and allows an individual a restful night.
"I had some plastic surgery done to correct my a creator on head after a traumatic event. Dr Schendel gave me a few options to consider, which resulted with excellent results."- A.K. / Google / May 09, 2018
"I am taking the time to share the positive experiences I have had of Dr. Schendel because it is important that any public information is accurate. Firstly, the doctor went out of his way and..."- A.T. / Yahoo / Dec 03, 2017
"I am taking the time to share the positive experiences I have had of Dr. Schendel because it is important that any public information is accurate. Firstly, the doctor went out of his way and made room in his schedule to consult regarding my 8 year-old daughter's needs when we had no prior relationship with him and oral surgery was imminent. He was gentle with her and honest with me about our choices. His expertise and care allowed me to make the best choice for my child.Secondly, he has cared for more than one individual I hold dear. This family has faced over 20 years of medical intervention and combined, upward of 30 surgeries. Dr. Schendel has been steadfast, consistent, and brilliant in his care of my dear one and her child. As her friend, each time they have faced yet another intense physical challenge or surgery, I have rest assured that she was getting the absolute best treatment because she was in Dr. Schendel's care. The bottom line is I trust him, both to care for my family and those I cherish.Aneea Toomajian PPS, LMFTEducational and Behavioral Consultant"- A.T. / Yelp / Dec 03, 2017
"Dr. Schendel has been my surgeon since I was 15 years old, I am now 44. I have been incredibly grateful for his work and dedication to his field. He has performed several procedures on me to correct a severe unilateral cleft lip and palate. I was referred to him because my clefting was so unusual and other surgeons had been unsuccessful with my case. My cheekbones were non-existent, eye sockets sucken in, jaw extremely recessed, palate permanently open and I had existing scar tissue from previous cosmetic surgery attempts by another surgeon. These are ALL the things Dr. Schendel has fixed with expertise, compassion and dedication. californiacraniofacialin…Over the years, Dr. Schendel has carefully and compassionately rebuilt my face from the inside out. Giving me the bone structure that I was not born with due to the severity of my cranial facial anomalies.When I first met him(I was 14) he excused his entire team of fellows who were there to observe him. He gave me the privacy I needed, handed me a mirror and asked me, "What don't you like about your face?". As a teenager, I was given the space to communicate the things that were great sources of pain. I explained the various things about my cleft lip that caused other kids teased me about. From that moment Dr. Schendel set out to give me a normal face with nothing but determination, dedication and true compassion.Over the years, I have faced other complications with my bone structure and degeneration from my severe cleft. Dr. Schendel has fiercely, carefully and methodically worked to fix the constant erosion and instability in my face. He has striveded to continually find the newest, best techniques available. I have been able to have implants along with bone grafts to retabalize my eroding palate, stem cell procedures to improve the tissue and blood flow to my face and cosmetic revisions-- I have been incredibly grateful and happy with the results.Dr. Schendel's ability to listen and connect with me has been amazing. As a youth, I felt safe, validated and listened too as a patient. As an adult, he has heard my worries and validated the pain I have felt in my face and palate. He has worked tirelessly to fix my cranial facial anomalies. I believe that his ability to be so compassionate and careful with his patients comes from YEARS of working with cleft affected children here and in third world countries. A few years ago, I learned that Dr. Schendel has also volunteered countless hours of surgery in third world countries to operate on children. He has insisted that the surgeries are learning sessions for local doctors in those countries. He has created a learning environment to teach the newest techniques to other physicians in these countries. He also spends months of his own time collecting supplies to take to these countries to donate for the surgeries. Dr. Schendel's passion for rebuilding faces generates from a desire to truly want to help rebuild lives--physically...and emotionally.Our son is also bilaterally cleft affected, he is now 13. Dr. Schendel has revised his soft palate and his lip. It is with tremendous gratitude that we have Dr. Schendel as our son's doctor. His revision is beautiful and his cleft is a non-issue. His speech has also VASTLY improved due to the titrated listening of Dr. Schendel in knowing how to revise our sons palate so skillfully so he can now make sounds like "J" "P" "K". I have referred Dr. Schendel to several family friends for various things that are not cleft related. Not because Dr. Schendel is an incredible oral maxillary and plastic surgeon. But because of his ability to connect with his patients, to hear them, to see them and then to use his dedication to medicine to help them."- V.L. / Yelp / Dec 03, 2017
"Dr. Schendel has been my surgeon since I was 15 years old, I am now 44. I have been incredibly grateful for his work and dedication to his field. He has performed several procedures on me to..."- V.L. / Yahoo / Dec 03, 2017
This procedure is performed for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. During surgery, Dr. Schendel will place an incision inside the lower lip. Using surgical tools, soft tissue and muscle within the chin will be scraped away so that the central part of the lower jaw can be exposed. To capture the area where the genioglossus muscle attaches to the jaw, small cuts will be made to the lower jaw. Once access to this muscle is gained, the rectangle of bone is moved forward. To secure this new position, small titanium screws will attach the bone fragment to the lower jaw. Dr. Schendel will carefully replace and reestablish the soft tissue to this area and use sutures to close the incision.
Genioglossus advancement is performed in our accredited surgical facility under general anesthesia. The surgery typically takes between 1-3 hours. Some patients will be able to go home after surgery, buy some will remain in the hospital for a day. This is to ensure that the patient is breathing freely and that there is no risk for infection. There will be some moderate pain in the first several days following surgery, which can be controlled with a prescription pain medication. Patients will need to sleep with their heads elevated for about a week, and a liquid and soft diet is recommended for 1-2 weeks after surgery.
The cost for genioglossus advancement surgery ranges between $2,000-$10,000. Insurance does typically cover a portion of this procedure. Our insurance and billing coordinator will help determine exactly how much will be covered once surgery has been confirmed.
Plan Your Procedure
- Average Cost
- $2,000 - $10,000
- Recovery Time
- 1-2 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 1-3 Hours
- Post-op Follow-up
- 2 Weeks
- Procedure Recovery Location
Genioglossus Advancement FAQs
Will My Appearance Change?
During surgery, the goal is to minimize any changes to the physical appearances of the chin. Because the small bone of the jaw is moved forward, there may be a subtle change in appearance, but it is very minimal and sometimes may not eve be noticeable by friends and family.
Will I Lose Feeling?
The primary nerves that travel through the lower jawbone are not cut during surgery. However, they are adjusted and moved along with the rectangular piece of bone that is moved forward. During the healing process, there will be numbness and a loss of sensitivity for most patients. However, this typically returns in a few months. Some patients will not experience any numbness, while others may it on one side of their chin or all over. This can be permanent in some patients, but typically is not the case.
Genioglossus advancement is a common sleep apnea surgery that offers good results for patients. Clinical results show that the majority of patients have success; these results go even higher when this surgery is combined with another sleep procedure such as UPPP. Some patients will be candidates for this, while others can have successful results with genioglossus advancement as a stand-alone procedure.