What are the possible complications?

November 1, 2019

There are potential complications with any operation. With this type of surgery complications are rare and may not happen to you. However, it is important that you are aware of them and have the opportunity to discuss them with your surgeon.

Numbness of the tongue

The lingual nerve which supplies feeling to the side of the tongue can become bruised as a result of surgery. If this occurs you will experience a tingly or numb feeling in the tongue, similar to the sensation after having an injection at the dentist.

This numbness may take several months to disappear and in a minority of patients may last for ever.

Damage to the submandibular duct

The submandibular duct is the name of the tube which carries saliva from the submandibular gland into the mouth. The submandibular gland is a salivary gland about the size of a plum that lies immediately below the lower jaw at the top of the neck. The duct runs close to the sublingual gland before opening on the inside of the mouth under the tongue immediately behind the lower front teeth.

If this duct is damaged saliva may not drain properly from the submandibular gland and the gland may therefore swell in the upper part of the neck. The majority of these swellings settle down on their own.

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Nicholas Lee: Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, Sheffield UK