Swollen tongue post anesthesia

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    Mary burtoftMaryburtoft

    My husband went under anesthesia for back surgery. He woke up in recovery room with swelling on the left side of his tongue, mouth and lip. Anestheolgist said it was due to intubation. He is 4 days post op and the swelling of the lip and side of mouth has subsided but his tongue is still swollen. He seems to mumble slightly when talking and has to eat much slower due to some difficulty swallowing. Will this go away on its own? Should he be seeing someone for this and was it caused by trauma from intubation?


    David Draghinas

    Thanks for your question, Mary.

    The best place to start getting some answers may be with the anesthesiologist. He/she will have the details of what happened with the intubation. They will also be able to give you feedback as to whether they think those issues should have resolved by now.

    Having surgery in the prone position (face down) can also cause swelling in the head and neck area. This may have contributed to the swelling.

    And I’ll end the comment by advising caution with feeding if he continues to have difficulty swallowing. If food gets into the windpipe (aspiration), this can cause all sorts of problems for the lungs.

    And if he ever has any difficulty breathing, this would constitute a medical emergency and he should seek immediate medical care.

    Please let us know how things have developed.

    Dr. Dave

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