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Cir Cir. 2004 Jan-Feb;72(1):11-3.

[Transverse glossectomy for tongue cancer treatment].

[Article in Spanish]

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Departamento de Tumores de Cabeza y Cuello, Hospital de Oncología, Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Av. Cuauhtémoc 330, Col. Doctores, CP 06725, México D.F., México.



Standard care of patients with oral tongue-invasive squamous cell carcinoma in early stages is local resection and neck dissection. Traditionally, tumor resection was performed with hemiglossectomy (tongue resection in lingual long axis), which implied morbidity for deglutition and speech. Although surgical margins are sufficient, they are usually larger than necessary.


To know functional results and surgical margins in patients with T1-T2 oral tongue cancer submitted to transverse glossectomy (TG).


We analyzed charts of patients with T1-T2 oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma treated by TG during a 2-year period. We studied surgical margins, deglutition, speech intangibility, performance status and patient satisfaction.


We included 20 patients: 12 women and eight men, with mean age of 45 years. Tumor-thickness mean was 8 mm; 19 patients showed free tumor margins in definitive histology study with mean of 1.8 cm three-dimensionally. In one patient, frozen sections were free-of-tumor, but definitive study showed a microscopic area of squamous cell carcinoma in surgical margin. All patients preserved > 50% of oral tongue and all showed lingual tip deviation and short tongue. None required nasogastric tube for feeding and speech was intelligible in all patients.


TG provided sufficient surgical margin in all patients in this series without important morbidity and with good functional result; thus, TG is an alternative to classic vertical hemiglossectomy for patients in early stages of tongue mobile cancer.

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