Laser tongue surgery

Laser tongue surgery treatment for cancer

HCA UK experts explain how laser surgery is used as an effective way to remove cancer in the mouth and tongue.


Laser surgery (also known as transoral surgery or laser excision) removes cancer in the mouth and tongue. It’s a very effective treatment due to its ability to precisely reach parts of the mouth that are difficult to access.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    The treatment uses an endoscope (an illuminated, flexible tube) to examine the mouth or tongue. Consultants use a carbon dioxide laser to remove the affected areas in small samples which helps to reduce damage to nearby tissue. This means you are less likely to develop infections or complications. During the process, micro staging is also used to examine tissue under a microscope. This allows consultants to understand if the tumour has grown into the connective tissues or the skin.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    The treatment will be carried out under general anaesthetic, which means you'll be asleep.

    Your consultant will tell you how to prepare for your operation. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you and answer any questions you may have.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    Laser treatment is relatively painless, although you may be in some discomfort after the surgery, and nurses can provide pain relief if needed. In rare cases, some people experience bleeding, difficulty swallowing or speaking or swelling.

    You will see a wound from the laser treatment initially, but this will heal quickly. It’s normal for it to develop a white or yellow substance around a week after the operation – this shows that it is healing properly. It should be completely healed within four weeks of the operation.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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