The tongue is an important part of the oral anatomy. For many patients with obstructive sleep apnea it can also be a cause of airway obstruction during sleep. This is particularly true in overweight patients because the fat tissue under the jaw will push the tongue superiorly and posteriorly.
In some cases it may be indicated to remove a portion of the tongue in it’s middle back portion with a procedure called a median glossectomy. This procedure was developed more than 20 years ago but has been disregarded in recent years because of the pain and surgical risks associated with it.
New techniques have recently been available like radio frequency of the tongue that allows reduction of the tongue size with much less discomfort and post-operative complications (nerves and blood vessel damage).
A median glossectomy is performed in the operatory room under general anesthesia.