Does Swallowing Function Recover in the Long Term in Patients With Surgically Treated Tongue Carcinomas?

Tei K, Sakakibara N, Yamazaki Y, Ohiro Y, Ono M, Totsuka Y.

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2012 Apr 19. [Epub ahead of print]



The present study aimed to measure postsurgical swallowing function in patients 5 years after the surgical treatment of tongue carcinoma.


Using a retrospective cohort study design, the investigators enrolled postsurgical patients treated for tongue carcinomas in Hokkaido University Hospital. The primary outcome variable was oropharyngeal swallow efficiency (OPSE) determined by videofluoroscopic evaluation, and OPSE at follow-up was compared with that at discharge. Other variables included current nutritional status (body mass index, serum albumin), dietary intake, self-rating of current swallowing function, and occurrence of pneumonia. Statistical analysis used the paired t test and the Spearman rank correlation.


Swallowing function was assessed in 20 patients (11 men and 9 women) who underwent the surgical treatment of tongue carcinomas; the median age was 70 years (range, 56 to 90 yrs). The mean OPSE values for liquid and paste at follow-up were 26.6 ± 21.2 and 21.9 ± 22.5, respectively. The mean values for the body mass index and serum albumin at presentation were 22.2 ± 3.4 kg/m(2) and 4.5 ± 0.3 g/dL, respectively. All patients had a full oral intake of foods, with a mean self-rated value of 6.4 ± 2.5, a value acceptable to the patients. Pneumonia requiring hospitalization did not occur in these patients.


The long-term follow-up of patients after the surgical treatment of tongue carcinomas showed acceptable levels of oral function and nutritional status despite objective measurements of poor swallowing efficiency assessed using videofluoroscopy.

Copyright © 2012 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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