Information for patients. Partial Glossectomy. Your operation explained. Royal Hallamshire Hospital

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1 Information for patients Partial Glossectomy Your operation explained Royal Hallamshire Hospital

2 This leaflet is aimed to help you understand about the procedure known as partial glossectomy. It explains what is involved, and some of the common complications associated with this procedure that you may need to be aware of. It is not meant to replace discussion between you and your surgical team, but may help to answer some of your queries. What is a partial glossectomy? A partial glossectomy is an operation to remove part of the tongue. The operation involves your surgeon examining your mouth whist you are asleep and resecting (removing) the diseased area of your tongue. It is all performed within the mouth, so there are normally no scars made on your face. You will sense that a piece is missing from your tongue. Your surgeon will either use dissolvable stitches on the area or leave it to heal on its own. Sometimes lymph nodes (glands) in your neck may need removal. This part of the operation is called a neck dissection and removes any glands that are affected by the cancer or have the potential to do so in the future (a separate booklet on this is available). Your surgeon will explain if this is necessary for your individual case. All the structures that are removed at the time of your operation are then examined in detail under the microscope, to look for cancer cells by a specialist pathologist (a professional who studies tissue under a microscope).

3 Soft palate Palato-pharyngeal arch Uvula Tonsil Vallate papillae Palato-glossal arch Pharynx Tongue What are the specific risks with this type of surgery? Most people will not experience any serious complications from their surgery; your surgeon will discuss these risks with you. Bleeding: your tongue may bleed a little after surgery and this can be treated by mouthwashes quite easily, inform staff if this occurs so they can inspect the area and reassure you. Pain: this can sometimes occur as the tongue is quite sensitive, the team caring for you will provide enough painkillers to ensure you are comfortable. However you must inform the staff if you experience any discomfort. Numbness of the remaining tongue: the main sensory nerve can run in the area to be taken - loss of sensation in the rest of that half of the tongue follows and can be permanent. Speech: the surgery may affect the clarity of your speech. Exercises and support from the speech and language therapist may be given if needed.

4 What are the possible risks and complications of surgery? After any major operation there is a risk of: Chest Infection: you can help by practicing deep breathing exercises and following the instructions of the physiotherapist. If you smoke, it is a good idea to stop smoking as far ahead of the operation as possible as this will reduce the risk of chest infection. Wound Infection: in some cases antibiotics can be given through a drip to help reduce the risk of this happening. Thrombosis (blood clot): this is due to changes in the circulation during and after surgery. A small injection is therefore often given to prevent clots forming until you go home. You can help by moving around as much as you are able and in particular regularly exercising your legs. You may also be fitted with some support stockings for the duration of your stay in hospital. Stopping smoking may also help reduce this risk. What will happen before my surgery? You may be asked to attend a pre-assessment appointment or admission before surgery when your fitness to undergo a major operation will be assessed. Usually you will be admitted the day of your surgery, but this can vary if you have other medical conditions which may require an earlier admission. What will I feel like after the operation? You will have had an operation under a general anaesthetic so you will probably feel drowsy most of the day. Drips and feeding: so that your tongue has time to heal, you may receive fluid via a drip in your arm, also specialist prepared

5 liquid feed via your naso-gastric tube (feeding tube passed via your nose into your stomach). This will be removed once you are able to eat a sufficient diet by mouth. You will be seen by a dietician who will assess and educate you regarding your diet following this type of surgery. Speech: a speech therapist s input and advice may be required, this will be arranged whilst you are on the ward. Pain: there are various ways of controlling any pain following surgery. This may vary depending on the extent of your surgery and will change as you recover. The team caring for you will decide the most appropriate method for you. These may include: 1. PCA (Patient Controlled Analgesia): this is when medication is given into a vein and is controlled by a pump. The pump will give continuous pain relief, and when you need extra you can press a button, however it will not allow you to have too much. 2. Epidural: this is when medication is given directly into the spine. It can be given continuously or like the PCA you can give yourself extra medicine as needed by pressing a button. 3. Injections which can be given regularly. 4. Some tablets can be crushed/dissolved and also be given via your feeding tube, or once you are drinking, by mouth. How long will I be in hospital? This depends upon the extent of your surgery being performed plus your general physical fitness. average length of stay for this type of surgery is one week.

6 What will happen after discharge from hospital? Prior to discharge you will be assessed by members of the support team involved with your care and arrangements made for follow-up if needed. Referrals will be made to the community support team, if necessary. Prior to leaving hospital you will have been given details on arrangements for any wound care you may need. Medications will be provided for you by the hospital if needed and then continued by your general practitioner. A letter will be given to you for your general practitioner, with basic details of the surgery you have received. A more detailed letter will be sent at a later date. An appointment for clinic will either be given to you on discharge or will be sent to you. The appointment will be to review your progress, discuss the results of your surgery and advise if any further treatment is needed. It is recommended that you write down any questions you may have to take with you to clinic. The speech and language therapist will also provide a follow-up appointment if necessary. The dietitian will see you before discharge and if needed refer to a community colleague. Your clinical nurse specialist will provide her/his contact details and make arrangements to contact you following discharge to assess your progress. It is important that if you do have any questions that you use the contact numbers provided to get the advice you need. The hospital ward is always happy to provide advice and there is someone there 24 hours a day.

7 Your recovery at home may vary, with major surgery this can be slow and you may feel tired or lack energy - your body will need to recover and heal. Regular follow-up will help us all to assess your progress. When can I return to work? Due to the extent of the surgery the time when you feel like returning to work varies from person to person. On discharge you will be given a sick note this can then be extended by your general practitioner. At your first clinic appointment you can discuss returning to work with your surgeon once he/she knows how you are progressing, and if any further treatment is required. When can I go on holiday? The team cannot decide this - obviously you would need to be recovered enough to be safe and not missing planned treatment. It is always advisable to take out necessary insurance especially if going abroad; your clinical nurse specialist can give you information on insurance companies.

8 What other sources of support are there? If you have any queries regarding your surgery the contact numbers for advice are: Consultant Surgeon... Clinical Nurse Specialist... Out-patient Clinic... Ward... Other sources of support and advice Cancer Support Centre... Cancer Backup... Macmillan... Support Group... Cavendish Centre... Sheffield Teaching Hospitals supports organ donation. Do you? This information can be made available on request in alternative formats including Braille, large print, audio, electronically and other languages. For further details Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Re-use of all or any part of this document is governed by copyright and the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 SI 2005 No Information on re-use can be obtained from the Information Governance Department, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. PD6292-PIL2402v1 Issue date: August Review date: August 2013.

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