What is Glossectomy?
This is a surgery to remove disease from the
There are different amounts of tongue tissue
that may be described as:
ξ Partial Glossectomy-removal of less
than half of your tongue
ξ Total Glossectomy- removal of nearly
all or most of your tongue
It may be necessary to repair your tongue
with tissue from somewhere else on your
What to expect after surgery
Eating and drinking may be a problem. You
may need a small feeding tube placed in
your nose during surgery to use for nutrition.
This will be removed when you are allowed
to eat and drink by mouth. A swallow
therapist will help you during this transition
You may have had some teeth pulled to
prevent food from getting stuck in your
A mouth wash may be prescribed to keep
your mouth clean and to prevent infection.
You will need to make sure that food and
debris are not trapped in your mouth. After
you eat and drink you will need to rinse your
mouth with water to clean it.
Pain medication will be prescribed. It may
be in a liquid form to make it easier to
swallow. This may cause some constipation
and require a stool softener.
You may sound differently depending on
how much of your tongue has been
removed. You may not be able to talk if all
of your tongue was removed. You may need
to work with a speech therapist to help
improve your communication.
Do not do any strenuous exercise for the
first week. Resume your activities slowly
over the next few weeks. Do not lift
anything over 25 lbs for the first 2 weeks.
When to call the doctor
ξ Increased pain in tongue, neck or
ξ A fever over 102° regardless of the
method used to take temperature
ξ Worsening or changes in the way
your breath smells or mouth tastes
ξ Pus like drainage from the tongue
ξ Change in color of tissue (white,
The Otolaryngology (ENT) Clinic phone
number is (608) 263-6190.
Monday through Friday between 8a.m. and 5
p.m. your call will be answered by a receptionist
that will take a message and send it to the nurse.
After 5:00 p.m. or the weekends, the clinic
number is answered by the paging operator. Ask
for the ENT doctor on call. Leave your contact
information and the doctor will return you call.
If you live out of the area, please call
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 10/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#7557