A new accurate 3D measurement tool to assess the range of motion of the tongue in oral cancer patients: a standardized model

Simone van Dijk*, Maarten J.A. van Alphen, Irene Jacobi, Ludwig E. Smeele, Ferdinand van der Heijden, Alfons J.M. Balm

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    In oral cancer treatment, function loss such as speech and swallowing deterioration can be severe, mostly due to reduced lingual mobility. Until now, there is no standardized measurement tool for tongue mobility and pre-operative prediction of function loss is based on expert opinion instead of evidence based insight. The purpose of this study was to assess the reliability of a triple-camera setup for the measurement of tongue range of motion (ROM) in healthy adults and its feasibility in patients with partial glossectomy. A triple-camera setup was used, and 3D coordinates of the tongue in five standardized tongue positions were achieved in 15 healthy volunteers. Maximum distances between the tip of the tongue and the maxillary midline were calculated. Each participant was recorded twice, and each movie was analysed three times by two separate raters. Intrarater, interrater and test–retest reliability were the main outcome measures. Secondly, feasibility of the method was tested in ten patients treated for oral tongue carcinoma. Intrarater, interrater and test–retest reliability all showed high correlation coefficients of >0.9 in both study groups. All healthy subjects showed perfect symmetrical tongue ROM. In patients, significant differences in lateral tongue movements were found, due to restricted tongue mobility after surgery. This triple-camera setup is a reliable measurement tool to assess three-dimensional information of tongue ROM. It constitutes an accurate tool for objective grading of reduced tongue mobility after partial glossectomy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)97-103
    Number of pages7
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2016


    • Speech and deglutition disorders
    • Tongue cancer
    • Tongue range of motion
    • Functional inoperability
    • Deglutition
    • Grading


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