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Auris Nasus Larynx. 2005 Dec;32(4):381-6. Epub 2005 Jul 19.

Taste disturbance after tonsillectomy and laryngomicrosurgery.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Kanebo Memorial Hospital, 1-9-1 Misaki-cho, Hyogo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 652-0855, Japan.



To investigate the incidence of taste disturbance after tonsillectomy and laryngomicrosurgery.


A prospective study.


Thirty-five consecutive patients underwent tonsillectomy with electric coagulator at Kanebo Memorial Hospital from September 2002 to May 2004. Another 35 consecutive patients underwent laryngomicrosurgery in a routine way during the same period. Both procedures were performed by two experienced doctors. The postoperative taste function was evaluated with questionnaire, electrogustometry (EGM), and serum levels of Zn, Cu and Fe.


After tonsillectomy, 3/35 patients (8.6%) complained of taste disturbance, due to the pressure on the tongue in two, and Zn deficiency after lack of intake in one. All three patients recovered taste within 1.5 months. None of our patients had taste disturbance due to surgical insult of the lingual branch of the glossopharyngeal nerve. After laryngomicrosurgery, only one patient (2.9%) complained of taste disturbance with elevation of the EGM threshold that resulted from the pressure on the tongue. In addition, abnormal sensation in the tongue occurred in 9 cases (25.7%) after tonsillectomy and in 2 cases (5.7%) after laryngomicrosurgery, and feeling of thirst occurred in 12 cases (34.3%) and in 8 cases (22.9%), respectively.


Taste disturbance occurs in few cases when experienced surgeons perform tonsillectomy or laryngomicrosurgery. However, it is recommended to inform the patients of the potential postoperative complications such as taste disturbance and abnormal sensation of the tongue.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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