How Your Tongue Determines Your Cure to Sleep Apnea

Innovative Research Presented by Dr. Michael Friedman and Chicago ENT Research Fellows at the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting Part II

Dallas, Texas – September 2015 – Dr. Michael Friedman of Chicago ENT, the renowned ear, nose, throat, allergy, and sleep practice serving the Chicago area was pleased to present innovative research findings on the effects of tongue positioning as a basis for determining the best sleep apnea treatments for individual patients at the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual meeting this last September 27-29th at the Katy Bailey Convention Center. 

Dr. Friedman presented the research alongside Chicago ENT’s research fellow, Dr. Lauren Bonzelaar, who discussed the importance of considering the position of the tongue and its effect on airway size when deciding the most effective individualized sleep apnea treatment plans for patients. Where classical thinking assumes that tongue protrusion improves the airway in all patients, researchers at Chicago ENT studied over 1,000 patients and determined that, in fact, tongue protrusion has variable effects on the airway. One-third of the patient population in the study responded atypically to changes in oral positioning (their airway did not decrease in size with the mouth open and/or did not increase in size with the tongue protruding). Identification of patients who do not follow the norm may have important clinical implications in the prediction of patient response to particular obstructive sleep apnea treatments and will enable customized “ideal” tongue position when considering treatment, particularly with hypoglossal nerve stimulation. For instance, nasal surgery may prove more beneficial for patients whose airway decreases in size with the mouth open, while tongue-­base suspension or hypoglossal nerve stimulation may have more of an impact for patients with an increased airway with tongue protrusion. In short, a patient’s tongue may be the answer to determining which sleep apnea treatments will prove most effective for their unique anatomy.

Chicago ENT continues at the forefront of otolaryngological and sleep apnea research with its dedicated research fellows and team. For those interested in determining which sleep apnea treatment is best suited for their individual anatomy or for those interested in learning more about the ongoing research and clinical trials, please call (773) 296-5500.

About Chicago ENT

With over 30 years of experience and five convenient locations, Chicago ENT is the leading provider of ENT, sleep apnea, and sinus and allergy care in the Chicagoland area. Led by world-renowned otolaryngologist Dr. Michael Friedman, Chicago ENT has long been recognized as a national medical leader with a world-class team of ear, nose, and throat and sleep specialists, commitment to cutting-edge nonsurgical and surgical treatments, and innovative approach to treating sleep disorders in both adults and children.

Click for more pictures from the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting 

At the AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting.
From left: Dr. Lauren Bonzelaar, Chicago ENT Research Fellow; Dr. Philip Hsin-Ching Lin; Dr. Michael Friedman, Chicago ENT Medical Director;
Anna Salapatas, Chicago ENT Research Fellow.