Surgical palsy

Surgical palsy

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Credit: DR P. MARAZZI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: MODEL RELEASED. Surgical palsy of a 76-year-old woman's tongue. Palsy is a loss of control of muscles due to nerve damage. In this case, the 12th cranial nerve was affected after surgery. The tongue is controlled by this nerve. The operation was a carotid endarterectomy, an operation to remove plaques of fat from a carotid artery in the neck. The plaques were caused by diabetes mellitus, a failure of the body to metabolise blood sugars. The palsy of the tongue was temporary in this case, and full tongue control was regained 4 months after the operation. For an image of the patient's neck and the site of the operation, see M332/101.

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