Skip to main content

I just had a partial glossectomy on Thursday (48 hours ago).  It hurts to swallow and because of the closure the whole tongue is kind of bent and feels really weird. I assume there's swelling as well.

I can get some words out, but they sound really weird and I can swallow liquids (it's just painful), but applesauce is really difficult and painful especially with the stitches poking the floor of my mouth.

My doctor is unavailable over the weekend, so I was just wondering if anyone who's been through this can tell me:

Is my tongue likely to bend more or straighten at all during healing?

How much of the "bigness" feeling is swelling and when can I expect that to come down?

How long until I can talk and what is the biggest hurdle there -swelling, practice, healing?

Any other advice?

Thanks in advance,





Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Hey good luck. Take care.  It’s a tough journey.  Yes the swelling will take a while to settle down.  Mine took about 8 weeks to stabilise and more than 12 weeks to satisfactorily heal.   I couldn’t talk for a week and my speech improved very very significantly over time.  Now it’s about 95% normal. My surgery was 2 years ago. Eating is really rough. I didn’t eat smooth food for 2 weeks and then went into mashed up food for 8 weeks.  

Keel going and keep fighting.  

all the story is on Facebook search tongue cancer journey. 

Thanks for the reply. My doctor was kind enough to answer my email and told me my numbness is not surprising since she dissected around the main nerve on the left side of my tongue. I'm hoping the nerve regrows because the numbness I'm sure is adding to the speech difficulties.  She also said that she had to remove more of my tongue than expected since the first frozen section came back positive so she had to take bigger margins.  She was hopeful based on initial biopsy that I wouldn't need anything more than the tongue surgery, so now I'm also nervous about needing lymph nodes removed and maybe more?  Gah!  I'm trying to take this one step at a time and not freak out, but...!

I’m now almost 1 year post surgery. Yes the swelling is normal and will go down. I had half my tongue removed and I can remember the remaining tongue was raised and bumpy. I could see where the flap was attached and that part didn’t do much apart from feel very heavy and hard to move. It took me about 8 weeks to eat normally. I had about a month of puréed food then fork mash. My speech has improved over the last year. I have a lisp on the s sound but I’d say it’s close to how it was. I had my lymph nodes removed at the same time and found out they were clear, thankfully. All the very best for your recovery.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.