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Overview: A Glossectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of your tongue. It is performed mainly to treat cancers of the tongue. However, cancers from other parts of the mouth and throat that grow to involve the tongue may require a glossectomy. For a glossectomy, you should be prepared to adapt to the changes in the way you speak and swallow. The extent of the change will depend on a number of factors such as how much of the tongue is removed, where the tongue is removed and what type of reconstruction is performed.
Glassectomy is performed under general anesthesia to make you sleep during the operation. Your doctor may perform Glassectomy in different ways depending upon the extent of the glossectomy and reconstruction.
Partial Glossectomy: This is the removal of any part of the tongue, from a small part of the side or tip, an entire half of the tongue or even more.
Total Glossectomy: This is the removal of the entire tongue, including the base of the tongue. This results in severe dysfunction with swallowing and resultant aspiration (food and liquids falling into the lungs). A total glossectomy will require a major reconstructive surgery. Reconstructive options might be healing by secondary intention (letting it heal on its own), primary closure (placing stitches to close up the tongue that was removed) or a flap reconstruction.
You will be advised to move on to soft foods like applesauce and yogurt for some weeks.
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