Jefferson University Hospitals


The surgical removal of a tongue cancer is called a glossectomy. The primary goal of our team of head and neck cancer and reconstructive surgeons at Jefferson is to cure your tongue cancer while you maintain excellent speech and swallowing function.

What Does Glossectomy Involve?

During a glossectomy, a portion of the tongue is removed with a small area of surrounding normal tongue tissue to ensure that all of the cancer is removed. Depending on the size of the defect, the tongue can be repaired with a small amount of tissue in the mouth or may require tissue transferred from the forearm or thigh.

If the tumor is deeply invading the tongue, your surgeon will perform a neck dissection to remove cancer that may have spread to lymph nodes in the neck.