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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Tongue numbness

07/28/2006

Question:

I know this is going to sound crazy. But, it is the honest truth and so far I cannot get any help answering it. Last Tuesday I had left elbow surgery for a blockage in the ulnar nerve that was causing numbness in my hand. Once I was at home and recovering, I have now noticed that the tip (1/3rd) and bottom of my tongue is numb. I thought at first it may be a side effect of the anasthesia. But, I would think after one week that would be gone. My surgeon had never heard of this and I am afraid it might be related to the ulnar nerve in some way. Can you help?

Answer:

There is not a connection in the ulnar nerve and the lingual nerve which innervates the tongue.  It is possible if you were intubated that a nerve could have been bruised.  This is highly unlikely.  It is possible that these events have no connection except to have occurred simultaneously.

You might talk with your physician to see if there were any complications during your surgery.  I wish I could be of more help.

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Response by:

D Stanley Sharples, DDS
Clinical Assistant Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University