Teen has jaw deformity surgery that included shortening his tongue

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KANSAS CITY, Mo -- A Topeka teen had a severe jaw deformity that resulted in serious sleep issues. He's getting good sleep since doctors at Children's Mercy Hospital performed surgery that even included shortening his tongue.

Toby Goforth was born with a syndrome that included having a jaw that's too far back. It resulted in Toby's airway being blocked during sleep, leaving him with little energy during the day. Since age three, he'd had a CPAP machine to wear at night to keep the airway open.

"I was frustrated because he's supposed to be wearing this. Why is he still tired? Well, he was taking it off and I didn't know it," said Harriet Goforth, his mother.

It's one reason why doctors at Children's Mercy thought surgery would be a good option for the 15-year-old. He had it in May.

"We did jaw surgery for two reasons -- to get his bite corrected and also to move the jaws forward to get more space behind his tongue to make his breathing better," said Dr. Michael Lypka, plastic surgeon.

Dr. Lypka also shortened Toby's tongue.

"When they told me they were doing something with the tongue, I was totally shocked. I was like, really?" said Harriet Goforth.

Dr. Lypka says it's done for good reason.

"Whenever someone has a bite that's open in the front, they tend to thrust their tongue through, so it's nice if you can reduce the size of the tongue so when you close the bite there will be less chance of it reopening after surgery," he said.

The surgery also resulted in a big change in Toby's appearance.

"He's more confident about himself 'cause when he smiled before you couldn't see his teeth. And when he smiles now, you can see them," said his mother.

Because Toby's airway is now open, he's getting good sleep. No need for a machine.

Toby simply says it's all "good."

His mom expressed her gratitude with a cake for his caregivers. It says, "Hooray. No more CPAP."