Background and objectives: There are many reports of masticatory, swallowing and speech disorders after oral cancer treatments, but there are a few of taste disorders. The aim of this study is to examine the postoperative taste sensation in patients who had subtotal glossectomy and reconstruction by free rectus abdominis muscle flap because of tongue carcinoma.
Patients and methods: Fifteen patients, consisting of 13 men and 2 women, aged between 37 and 79 with an average of 57.6 years old, were enrolled in this study. The filter-paper disk, which has four basic tastes (sweet, salty, sour and bitter) was touched on the patient’s posterior wall of mid pharynx and retaining tongue. The evaluation was performed in six grades.
Results: Through the medical interview, only 38% of patients noticed their taste disorders, however this survey shows 69% of them had moderate or worse taste disorders. Also 38% of them had allotriophagy. The exam indicates the reduced taste sensation in retaining tongue. Furthermore there was no significant difference between the retaining tongue and the posterior wall of mid pharynx. Treatment of tongue carcinoma has several factors that cause taste disorder such as surgical resection, preoperative chemotherapy and zinc deficiency by postoperative eating disorder. Therefore some patients had taste disorder even tongue base remain after subtotal glossectomy.
Conclusion: Surprisingly the taste sensation of remaining tongue was reduced severely after the subtotal glossectomy. For the appetite and the nutrition, considering the taste sensation is very important.
Key words: subtotal glossectomy; tongue reconstruction; tongue carcimona; taste disorder; filter-paper disk method