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J Laryngol Otol. 2008 Feb;122(2):e5. Epub 2007 Nov 30.

Post-tonsillectomy dysgeusia with weight loss: possible involvement of soft palate.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Czerniakowski Hospital, Warsaw Medical Academy, Warsaw, Poland.



To demonstrate the importance of detailed, multidisciplinary examination of patients with post-tonsillectomy taste distortions, and to show that post-tonsillectomy dysgeusia may originate in the caudal part of the soft palate.


We describe a 29-year-old man who suffered from severe post-tonsillectomy dysgeusia and phantogeusia with secondary weight loss and depression-like symptomatology. The patient had normal electrogustometric thresholds and sensitivity to touch on the posterior tongue. In contrast, elevated taste threshold and reduced sensitivity to touch was found on the caudal part of the soft palate (the palatoglossal arches). More marked elevation of electrogustometric threshold and insensitivity to touch on the right palatoglossal arch correlated with post-operative haemorrhage from the right tonsillar fossa. Psychiatric examination excluded major depression, eating disorders and drug abuse.


Dysgeusia constitutes a rare but significant complication of tonsillectomy. Damage to the lingual branch of the glossopharyngeal nerve innervating the posterior tongue is thought to be a major cause of this complication. However, damage to the tonsillar branches of the glossopharyngeal nerve and the soft palate should also be considered as a cause of post-tonsillectomy dysgeusia. Further studies are needed to assess whether post-operative haemorrhage could indicate heightened risk of dysgeusia.

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