Surgical resection in oral cancer patients can result in altered speech, swallowing, and patient perception of quality of life (QOL). Oral surgery can result in reduced lingual range of motion (ROM). However, few studies have quantified the degree of lingual restriction after surgery. This pilot study describes a new measurement system to define tongue ROM in surgically treated tongue cancer patients. This measurement system was validated by comparing results in these treated surgical patients versus healthy individuals. This scale was further validated by correlating ROM with performance status, oral outcomes, and patient-rated QOL. Thirty-six patients who underwent oral tongue surgery and 31 healthy individuals were included. Tongue ROM was assessed using a novel ROM assessment system. This novel system was examined in these patients versus healthy subjects. This measurement tool was further validated by correlating tongue ROM in treated patients with performance status, oral outcomes, and patient-rated QOL. Tongue ROM was found to be significantly lower in the surgically treated patients than in the healthy individuals (p = 0.0001). Tongue ROM correlated with performance status, oral outcomes, and all QOL measures. This new tongue ROM measurement system defined tongue deficits in surgically treated oral cancer patients. This tool was validated by comparing results to those in healthy individuals, as well as by correlating tongue ROM to performance status, oral outcomes, and QOL. This measurement tool can be used to define baseline and postsurgery tongue ROM in oral cancer patients, as well as track change over time with recovery and therapy. Future studies should examine use of this measurement tool with other populations demonstrating tongue deficits.
- Oral cancer
- Tongue range of motion