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To determine the frequency of altered tongue sensation following tonsillectomy, and its relationship to different surgical techniques.
District general hospital.
One hundred and four consecutive adults undergoing tonsillectomy, and 43 control patients.
Main outcome measures:
Altered tongue sensation.
Twenty-eight of 100 patients described altered tongue sensation post-tonsillectomy. No patients in the control group experienced altered tongue sensation. There was a difference in rates of altered sensation between tonsillectomy patient groups undergoing bipolar diathermy and ‘cold steel’ techniques (p < 0.019). Three months after surgery, 22/23 contactable patients reported complete recovery of tongue sensation. One patient experienced tongue paraesthesia persisting until one year post-tonsillectomy.
Tonsillectomy resulted in altered tongue sensation in 28 per cent of our study group. Bipolar diathermy dissection was significantly more likely to cause altered sensation than cold steel dissection. Ninety-six per cent of these disturbances resolved by three months, all by one year. Possible alteration of tongue sensation should be discussed whilst obtaining consent for tonsillectomy.
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a form of acute inflammatory (demyelinating) polyneuropathy. It causes rapidly ascending numbness and weakness. In the early phase, a high index of suspicion for GBS is essential in the presence of ascending numbness and weakness because ancillary tests may not help. A normal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein level in the early phase or a finding of numerous lymphocytes does not exclude the diagnosis of GBS. By end of first week of illness, CSF analysis usually reveals normal CSF pressure and elevated protein without leukocytosis termed albuminocytological dissociation. Despite advances in the treatment of GBS, good supportive care is still the most important determinant of favorable outcome. Cardiac monitoring is routine for patients with severe findings. Respiratory status is assessed with periodic vital capacities. Elective endotracheal intubation for ventilatory support is considered when the vital capacity is below 15 ml/kg.
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