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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Surgical Importance of The Tongue!

We all use it every single day but very few of us realize how important this organ actually is. I guess we more or less could figure out the basic importance of the tongue on our own. So what I'll tell you about is the surgical importance of the tongue.

Before continuing here are some fun facts about the tongue I got from

Surgical importance of the tongue:

Okay now it is time to talk serious. Let's take a look at some of thesurgical diseases that affect the tongue:

Inability to protrude the tongue

If a pateint is unable to protrude his tongue then it could be due to the following reasons:
  1. Ankyloglossia
  2. Tongue-tie (in children)
  3. Advanced carcinoma of the tongue involving the floor of the tongue (in old age)

Deviation of the tongue to one side

Now if the patient is able to protrude the tongue but it deviates to one side then it may be due to hemiplegia of the tongue due to involvement of its motor nerve supply, ie the hypoglossal nerve mostly by carcinomatous lesions.

Large tongue

The tongue may quite large. This condition is called macroglossia which could be due to:
  1. Acromegaly
  2. Creatinism (in children)
  3. Myxoedema
  4. Lymphangioma
  5. Cavernous Haemangioma
  6. Amyloidosis
  7. Neurofibroma

Tremor of the tongue

If the tongue tremors after its protrusion is chiefly due to thyrotoxicosis. But other conditins which could result in tremor of the tongue are Delirium tremens and Parkinsonism although they are very rare.

Colour of the tongue:

The colour is highly important. The colour is dark red due to rich blood supply with a capillary network close to the surface. I
  • pale colour - In sever anaemia
  • white colour - due to leukoplakia
  • 'red glazed' - when the leukoplakia are desquamated
  • blue colour - venous haemangioma
  • black hairy - hyperkeratosis of the mucous membrane in smokers or caused by a fungus called Aspergillus


If a tongue is moist then that means the water content of the tongue is below standard and the patient is dehydrated.
A dry, brown tongue may be found in
  1. later stages of sever illness,
  2. acute intestinal obstruction and
  3. advanced uraemia.

Smooth tongue

A smooth tongue due to generalised atrophy of the papillae is characteristic of vit B12 deficiency, iron deficiency anaemia and certain gastrointestinal disorders.


  • Congenital fissures are mainly transverse.
  • Syphilitic fissures are usually longitudinal.


  • Dental ulcers - usually seen on the sides where the tongue comes in contact with sharp teeth or dentures
  • Tuberculous ulcers - on the tip and sides
  • Gummatous ulcers - on the dorsum
  • Carcinomatous ulcers - Margin of the tongue
So now you have a basic idea about the surgical importances of the tongue. Share your views on this hub by commenting below. :)

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