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You will have a
to allow you to breathe during and after surgery. This creates an opening from the outside of your neck to your windpipe. A tube is inserted through the opening to allow for air flow. It is usually temporary.
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.
Occasionally a new tongue will be constructed from tissue removed from the thigh, forearm, or chest.
Sometimes the lymph nodes in the neck will also need to be removed.
Dziegielewski PT, Ho ML,
et al. Total glossectomy with laryngeal preservation and free flap reconstruction: objective functional outcomes and systematic review of the literature.
Fujimoto, Yet al. Swallowing function following extensive resection of oral or oropharyngeal cancer with laryngeal suspension and cricopharyngeal myotomy. Laryngocope. 2007;117(8):1343-1348.
Kimata Y, Uchiyama K, Ebihara S, et al. Postoperative complications and functional results after total glossectomy with microvascular reconstruction.
Plast Reconstr Surg. 2000;106(5):1028-1035.
Mehta S, Sarkar S, Kavarana N, Bhathena H, Mehta A. Complications of the pectoralis major myocutaneous flap in the oral cavity: a prospective evaluation of 220 cases.
Plastic Reconstruc Surg. 1996;98(1):31-37.
Oral cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed May 23, 2014.
Surgery. Oral Cancer Foundation website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed May 23, 2014.
What you need to know about oral cancer, treatment. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Published December 23, 2009. Accessed May 23, 2014.
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.