Macroglossia, why is my tongue so large? (2024)

Mr Juling OngPlastic surgery

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Written by: Mr Juling Ong

Published: 02/09/2019

Edited by: Lisa Heffernan

Macroglossia is the medical term for an unusually large tongue. Enlargement of the tongue can cause cosmetic and functional difficulties while speaking, eating, swallowing and sleeping. It’s quite uncommon and generally occurs in children.

Mr Juling Ong, craniofacial and paediatric plastic surgeon in London talks about why the tongue becomes enlarged and what can be done about it.

Macroglossia, why is my tongue so large? (2)

The tongue can become larger than normal due to a number of conditions. These include conditions that you may be born with or that you develop later in life. Overgrowth conditions such as Beckwith-Wiedemann syndromeand vascular anomalies of the tongue can lead to its enlargement.

Other conditions such as Down syndrome, trauma, inflammatory conditions, primary amyloidosis, andcongenital hypothyroidismmay also be associated with a large tongue.

What are the signs of macroglossia?

A large tongue may result in problems with drooling, speaking, eating and breathing. Over the long term, a large tongue can result in abnormal growth of the jaw and teeth. If the tongue is very large, it can be difficult to keep it inside the mouth, resulting in drying out or cracking and ulceration of the tongue itself.


How is macroglossia diagnosed?

This condition can be diagnosed with a combination of clinical examination and specialist testing. Your doctor will look at your family history and determine the underlying cause.


Does it require treatment in every case? How is it treated?

Treatment depends upon the underlying cause and severity, so may range fromspeech therapyin mild cases, to surgical reduction in more severe cases.

Medical therapies can be used when the cause is both identifiable and treatable, as in the case of hypothyroidism. In cases where the cause isn’t clear, medical therapies haven’t been useful.

What does macroglossia surgical reduction involve?

Tongue reduction surgery is performed to enable the tongue to function properly within the mouth. The tongue is reduced in size during a procedure which lasts approximately one hour. This operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and most patients will start drinking on the first or second day after surgery and be able to be discharged from hospital after four or five days.

It is recommended to follow a diet of puree consistency for about four to six weeks after surgery to allow the tongue to heal properly.

If you’d like to learn more about macroglossia or would like to see a specialist who can help you with your case, get in touch with Mr Juling Ong.

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By Mr Juling Ong


Plastic surgeryin London

Mr Juling Ong is a consultantcraniofacial, cosmetic, and paediatric plastic surgeonin London, who specialises in craniofacial deformities, vascular malformations, birthmarks, head and neck cancer and paediatric plastic surgery. He also offers a full range of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures for adults, including the face, breasts and body.Mr Ong trained in plastic surgery in London and received his FRCS(Plastics) in 2012. In 2013 he was awarded the Ellison-Cliffe Travelling...

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By Mr Juling Ong
Plastic surgery

Mr Juling Ong is a consultantcraniofacial, cosmetic, and paediatric plastic surgeonin London, who specialises in craniofacial deformities, vascular malformations, birthmarks, head and neck cancer and paediatric plastic surgery. He also offers a full range of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures for adults, including the face, breasts and body.

Mr Ong trained in plastic surgery in London and received his FRCS(Plastics) in 2012. In 2013 he was awarded the Ellison-Cliffe Travelling Fellowship by the Royal Society of Medicine and undertook a year-long American Council of Graduate Medical Education accredited fellowship. He obtained a diploma from the University of Texas in craniofacial, cleft and paediatric plastic surgery in 2014.

He is a member numerous professional organisations such as, the British Society for Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, the Cleft and Craniofacial Society of Great Britain and Ireland and the International Society for Craniofacial Surgery.

Aside from his professional endeavours, Mr Ong is passionate about humanitarian work, and regularly travels internationally to fulfill such responsibilities. His efforts in this field have been recognised in national and international news publications.

Mr Ong accepts international patients travelling to the UK for healthcare.

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