Care After

Refer to this sheet in the next few weeks. These instructions provide you with information on caring for yourself after your procedure. Your caregiver also may give you more specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your caregiver if you have any problems or questions after your procedure.

Speaking, swallowing, eating, and controlling your saliva will be difficult at first, but all of these functions will become easier as you relearn them. Speech therapy and the use of artificial devices (prosthetic devices) that replace parts of your mouth that were removed often can help you articulate words. Your caregiver will instruct you about exercises you can do to help restore movement of your jaw and stretch muscles that may have contracted. In the case of a partial glossectomy in which movement of the tongue is still possible, a speech therapist can teach you exercises to help restore good speech.


  • Take any medicine as directed by your caregiver.

  • Gargle water frequently to flush out fluids, prevent infection, and speed up the healing process as directed. Flush your mouth after every meal so food does not get trapped in any area of your mouth.

  • Drink enough fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.

  • When you begin to eat again, eat soft foods and slowly progress to your normal diet.

  • If you receive a prosthetic mouth device, your caregiver will give you instructions on how to clean and care for it.

  • If you have a tube inserted through your neck and into your windpipe (trachea) for breathing (tracheostomy tube), your caregiver will instruct you how to clean it. Your caregiver will also tell you when to come back to have it removed.


  • You have a fever.

  • You have blood, drainage, swelling, or redness in your mouth that increases after the procedure.

  • You have increasing pain.

  • You have difficulty chewing or swallowing.

  • You have increased coughing.

  • You have redness or swelling in your upper neck.


  • You have pain or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs.

  • You have shortness of breath, a rapid heart beat, chest pain, nausea, or vomiting. 

  • You notice a decrease in the amount that you urinate and the number of times you urinate.