It’s not every day that you’ll see a study that reports on a new device’s failure. The Advance System, which is manufactured by Aspire Medical was a promising new way of treating obstructive sleep apnea. It’s similar to the Repose suture suspension system for the tongue base, but has the advantage of being adjustable. The device looks like an umbrella or an anchor which you place into the back of the tongue. It’s placed through a small incision under the chin. Connected to this device is a suture that’s attached to a spool-like device that’s screwed onto the lower jaw.
Two to four weeks after healing, a small incision is made under the chin and a screw is turned to tighten the suture, thus pulling the device forward. Unfortunately, portions of the barbed anchor broke in 31% of patients. There were a number of other minor complications as well. The study authors went on to say that due to the high rate of complications, they concluded that the current system was not acceptable for clinical use. In the patients that underwent the implant, the AHI, Epworth, Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire, and snoring all improved somewhat.
It’s likely that they may modify the system and try again. I’m sure there will be other variations of these tongue advancement procedures as well.