Tongue Inspection | Cranial Nerves - MedSchool
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Tongue Inspection

 
 
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Tongue Wasting

    • Look For

    • Decreased mass of the tongue, unilaterally or bilaterally.
    • Causes of Tongue Wasting

    • Motor neuron disease
    • Hypoglossal (XII) nerve lesion - tumour, trauma, infarct, haemorrhage, demyelination, bulbar palsy
    • Interpretation

    • Unilateral wasting - suggestive of a lower motor neuron, involving the hypoglossal nerve (XII) or medullary hypoglossal nucleus
    • Bilateral wasting - suggestive of motor neuron disease, Guillain Barre or neurosyphilis

Tongue Fasciculations

    • Look For

    • Spontaneous localised muscle contraction and relaxation. May be associated with dysarthria or dysphagia.
    • Causes of Tongue Fasciculations

    • Motor neuron disease
    • Hypoglossal (XII) nerve lesion - tumour, trauma, infarct, haemorrhage, demyelination, bulbar palsy
    • Interpretation

    • Unilateral fasciculations - suggestive of a lower motor neuron lesion, involving the hypoglossal nerve (XII) or medullary hypoglossal nucleus
    • Bilateral fasciculations - suggestive of motor neuron disease
Last updated on January 6th, 2020
 
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