Repair of Collapsed Airway Using Hyoid Suspension
The hyoid bone is a U-shaped bone in the neck, located above the level area of the thyroid cartilage. This bone has attachments to muscles of the tongue as well and the soft tissues of the throat, and it moves freely rather than being firmly anchored in position. This mobility can allow the tongue and muscles in this area to collapse and cause airway blockage during sleep more easily. The Hyoid Suspension procedure secures the hyoid bone to the thyroid cartilage and helps to stabilize the collapsible region of the airway.
Hyoid Suspension Procedure
The hyoid suspension procedure is performed for patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. This procedure is performed in the operating room under general anesthesia. A small incision is made, ideally in a natural neck skin crease to camouflage the scar. Four stitches are placed around the hyoid bone and the upper portion of the thyroid cartilage, to stabilize the hyoid bone. The skin incision is closed with stitches, and usually a small drain is placed for 1-2 days to allow any fluid to escape without being trapped underneath the skin.