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Anterior tongue reduction surgery for paediatric macroglossia

  • H Chau (a1), M Soma (a1), S Massey (a1), R Hewitt (a1) and B Hartley (a1)...



Anterior tongue reduction is indicated when macroglossia causes problems with oral hygiene, airway compromise, deglutition, articulation or orthognathic complications. Causes of macroglossia include hypothyroidism, mucopolysaccharide and lipid storage disease, lymphangioma, haemangioma, neurofibroma, and muscular macroglossia. This paper presents an 11-year experience of anterior tongue reduction at Great Ormond Street Hospital.


Retrospective study of patient medical records identified from the hospital ENT database. Anterior wedge resection was the preferred technique.


Anterior tongue reduction was performed on 18 patients, due to cystic hygroma with tongue involvement (nine patients), Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome (eight) and Down's syndrome (one). Anterior wedge resection was preferred, using electrocautery in the majority, except for four cases involving CO2 laser. All but one patient had a good surgical outcome (i.e. tongue in mouth at rest). One patient subsequently required multiple laser procedures for recurrent macroglossia.


Anterior tongue reduction can be a safe procedure, with limited post-operative morbidity, consistently resulting in good surgical outcomes and improvement in macroglossia symptoms. Speech development does not appear to be adversely affected.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Mr Ha Chau, 111 Eton Hall, Eton College Road, London NW3 2DN, UK E-mail:


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