The Suprahyoid muscles consist of: the Geniohyoid, Mylohyoid, Stylohyoid, and the Digastric. These muscles primarily assist in elevating the hyolaryngeal complex during the swallow and opening the upper esophageal sphincter (UES) during the swallow. The Mylohyoid also functions to elevate the tongue and the floor of the oral cavity.
In 2012, Feng et al conducted a study of the relationship between atrophy of the Geniohyoid muscle, which is one of the suprahyoid muscles, and the occurrence of aspiration in older adults. The study authors concluded, "In summary, using head and neck CT scans, we found that decreased CSA (cross-sectional area) of GH (Geniohyoid) muscle was associated with aging and was greater in aspirators compared with nonaspirators in older men.... These findings may indicate an association between GH muscle atrophy and decreased swallowing safety and aspiration in older adults and warrants further investigation."
Feng, X., Todd, T., Lintzenich, C.R., Ding, J., Carr, J.J., Ge, Y., Browne, J.D., Kritchevsky, S.B., Butler, S.G.. Aging-Related Geniohyoid Muscle Atrophy Is Related to Aspiration Status in Healthy Older Adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2013 Jul; 68(7): 853–860. Published online 2012 Oct 30. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gls225. PMCID: PMC3732109.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jolie Parker, M.S.CCC-SLP is a speech language pathologist who specializes in treating patients with dysphagia (swallowing problems). She is a co-inventor of the ISO Swallowing Exercise Device, co-owner of Alternative Speech and Swallowing Solutions. She provides home speech language pathology therapy visits to children and adults in the Orlando, FL area. Many dysphagia patients have been able to transition from PEG tube, NPO, pureed diet, mechanical soft diet, and/or thickened liquids back to regular foods and liquids with her dysphagia treatment method.