Hello everyone.

I had a partial glossectomy (left anterior) with selective neck dissection done about 18 days ago. The removed portion was small, recovery went well, and pathology results were good.

However, the numbness of my tongue has been replaced with a significant sensitivity/pain. I would expect that; however, the sensitivity is on the front-top and tip of my tongue, areas not directly touched during surgery.

I still have several stitches yet to dissolve, and am aware that nerve regeneration could be (and likely is) partially/greatly responsible. Nevertheless, given the fact that this is a cancer issue, I'm concerned.

If any of you have had a similar procedure and can provide any insight, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thank you in advance.
Original Post
Hello LaJoGi

The sensitivity is related to the return of sensation. The pins and needles tingling sensation is called paraesthesia. If all goes well, with the minimal tongue surgery and no radiotherapy, you should be talking and eating almost normally after healing is over. So that's good news!

Let us know how things go with you.

Best wishes
Vinod Coffee
Thank you Dr. Joshi. I don't know that I'd call it a tingling sensation (it isn't as though my tongue were "asleep"). If it hasn't changed in the next couple of days, I'll contact my otolaryngologist.

Some background on my cancer [cross-posted in the Introduce Yourself forum]...

I was a light-medium smoker for 18 years (I'm now 35) and a regular drinker for the past six or seven. Two years ago, during a routine dental exam, a patch of leukoplakia was discovered on the left underside of my tongue. A biopsy was performed and the pathology showed neither cancer nor dysplasia.

And, for whatever reason, I continued smoking and drinking.

This May, my dentist recommended I have my wisdom teeth removed. Because the oral surgeon who would so this procedure is also the one who did the previous biopsy, and since two years had passed, another biopsy was recommended when I went for a consult on the wisdom removal. The results of this biopsy were given to me on 15 June: "There's cancer in there" he said -- squamous cell carcinoma.

Like many when they hear the word, I took it as a death sentence, particularly since I lost a co-worker of similar age and with the same diagnosis only nine months ago.

After CTs of the head/neck and chest, and a PET from the top of my head to my knees, it appeared the cancer was localized and I had surgery 18 July. I left the hospital two days later and spent a week with a numb tongue, a liquid diet, a very stiff neck, and a drain I feared I would accidentally pull out.

Fortunately, the pathology of both tongue and lymphs showed no signs of cancer, only dysplasia in the tongue (a bit odd, but sometimes the biopsy gets it all). I will meet with a radiation oncologist next week to determine if radiation therapy is recommended, but it likely will not be. I will have monthly follow-ups for a year, and less-frequent follow-ups for three, five, or ten years after.

While I sound a bit different when I talk, I'm understood by everyone and many don't even notice a difference. Eating isn't too bad, though it is a bit tougher with the tongue-tip sensitivity I've had the past three-four days.

It would appear that I am extremely fortunate. Still, it is early in my treatment/recovery, cancers can recur, and I could of course be hit by a bus tomorrow. So, I appreciate each day I get -- and accompany them with fruits/vegetables instead of tobacco/alcohol.

I haven't spent a great deal of time on these forums, but in the time I have I've been introduced to some extremely good-natured and courageous people. Their courage and outlook have helped fear and pessimism took over. I wish all of you quick recovery and good health.
Hello LaJoGi I know Dr Joshi has already answered your post but just wanted to say that what you are feeling is not unusual. I had approx. half my tongue removed and experienced an assortment of sensations for a long time after surgery. Pain/numbness/extreme salty taste/burning. Eventually they do subside but, depending on what you eat or drink, certain ones return for a while. It is very early days for you and I hope things start to settle down soon. Best regards Brenda
I've been thru same, VA treated me with warm salt water goggling 3 times day this was in Mar 2012, after tumor was hanging out my mouth Aug 6th 2012 they decided to biopsy instead Dr cut it off said it wasn't cancer was he ever wrong Au 10th 2012 had surgery Houston took about 25% of tongue ain't been easy, now have to go back Houston every other month due to these Community College Dr's lack of knowledge or really caring about health anything more than high blood pressure they are lost
I just had the procedure Thursday. My tongue was numb and feels like an Alien wriggling worm inside my mouth. I wished for feeling to come back, but now
I'm eating my words as the pain has zoomed and my salivary glands have kicked into high gear. The good news is I have decent motor control and taste. The bad news is that although the interior pain has increased, it's still quite numb.

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