Eat a light meal the night before. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
If you have diabetes, ask your doctor if you need to adjust your medicines.
General anesthesia will be used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep through the surgery.
Description of the Procedure
If part of the tongue needs to be removed, the doctor will remove this cancerous section. The remaining area of the tongue will be sewn so that there is no hole. Sometimes, a small graft of skin will be used to fill the hole. This skin graft will then be sewn into place.
If the entire tongue needs to be removed, this is a more complicated surgery. The doctor will remove the diseased tongue. A piece of skin from your wrist will also be removed. This skin graft will be placed in the hole left by the tongue. Blood vessels will also be attached from any remaining tongue to the graft. This is to ensure blood flow. Sometimes the lymph nodes in the neck will also need to be removed.
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during the surgery. You will have pain during recovery. Ask your doctor about medicine to help with the pain.
Average Hospital Stay
At the Hospital
While recovering at the hospital, you may receive the following care:
Oxygen through prongs attached to your nose for the first 1-2 days
Nutrition through a tube—Once you are able to swallow, you will be able to have drinks and pureed food. If a total glossectomy is done, you may need a permanent feeding tube in the stomach.
Fluids and medicines will be given through an IV
Special boots or sock to help prevent blood clots—You will also be encouraged to get out of bed as soon as possible.
Instructions to breathe deeply and cough 10-20 times every hour (for the first few days)—This will decrease the risk of pneumonia.
In addition, your doctor may have you:
Work with a speech therapist to learn to speak and swallow after surgery
Kimata Y, Uchiyama K, Ebihara S, et al. Postoperative complications and functional results after total glossectomy with microvascular reconstruction. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2000 Oct;106(5):1028-35.
Mehta, Samir M.S.et al. Complications of the Pectoralis Major Myocutaneous Flap in the Oral Cavity: A Prospective Evaluation of 220 Cases. Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery: July 1996 - Volume 98 - Issue 1 - pp 31-37
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a