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Isolated Hypoglossal Nerve Palsy Mimicking a Base of Tongue Tumor

Nestola, Daniela Francesca MD; Lombardi, Mariangela MD; Brucoli, Matteo MD; Pia, Francesco MD; Aluffi, Paolo MD

Journal of Craniofacial Surgery: January 2017 - Volume 28 - Issue 1 - p e78–e80
doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000003240
Brief Clinical Studies

Isolated paralysis of hypoglossal nerve is uncommon, generally being associated with other neuropathies. A careful differential diagnosis is necessary to recognize the underlying diseases, some of which can be life-threatening. The authors report a patient of an 80-year-old woman presenting with an isolated hypoglossal palsy, mimicking a tongue neoplasm. Through a careful clinical workup and thanks to the aid of the imaging, it was possible to identify the presence of signal alterations due to a subacute denervation of the affected hemitongue and to exclude the presence of a tumor. The patient was clinically diagnosed as isolated hypoglossal palsy, resulting from a thrombo-embolic accident involving the nerve along its course. The authors propose some useful means for the differential diagnosis and review the literature.

*ENT Department

Department of Radiology

Department of Maxillo-Facial Surgery, University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, Italy.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Nestola Daniela Francesca, MD, Azienda Ospedaliera “Maggiore della Carità,” Università del Piemonte Orientale, Corso Mazzini 18, Novara, 28100 NO, Italy; E-mail:

Received 10 May, 2016

Accepted 31 August, 2016

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2017 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD.