Tongue Reduction Surgery (Midline Glossectomy)

We offer tongue reduction surgery, an effective treatment option for sleep apnea.

Tongue Reduction Surgery (Midline Glossectomy)

We offer tongue reduction surgery, an effective treatment option for sleep apnea.

Expert Tongue Surgery for Better Sleep

For about 60% of people who have sleep apnea, their tongue plays a major role in their condition. For example, the tongue may be enlarged and fall back into the airway while relaxed during sleep. This blocks the airway. During a midline glossectomy procedure, the surgeon reduces the size of the tongue, helping to open the airway during sleep. 

Our fellowship-trained ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeons have years of experience caring for people with sleep apnea and enlarged tongues. They have helped hundreds of people just like you find effective relief.  

How an Enlarged Tongue Contributes to Sleep Apnea 

The tongue can be enlarged for several reasons, such as an increase in muscle, fat or tonsil tissue in the tongue. Studies have shown that weight gain can lead to extra fat in the tongue itself, making the tongue physically larger. This enlargement increases the tendency of the tongue — largely composed of muscle — to fall backward during sleep and block breathing. 

How Glossectomy Surgery Works 

If you have sleep apnea and a large tongue, more conservative treatment options may not be enough to control your sleep apnea symptoms. In this case, your ENT doctor may recommend this procedure. Midline glossectomy is not a complete tongue removal procedure. Rather, this procedure reduces the size of the tongue.  

Midline glossectomy combines multiple techniques, including lingual tonsillectomy (tonsil removal) and submucosal lingualplasty (removal of portions of the middle and back of the tongue). During extensive procedures, your surgeon uses ultrasound imaging to protect your major blood vessels and nerves. 

Why Choose Us for Midline Glossectomy Procedures

Our surgeons have undergone advanced training and are national experts in ENT surgery.

We specialize in noninvasive and less-invasive ENT procedures, as well as advanced surgical approaches.

We’ve been named a top 10 hospital in California by U.S. News & World Report in their 2023-24 Best Hospitals rankings.

We have one of the most comprehensive ENT programs in the country.