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January 1958

Hypermobility of the Tongue

Author Affiliations

From the Otolaryngology Branch, Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Service, U. S. Naval Hospital, Oakland, Calif.

AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1958;67(1):81-82. doi:10.1001/archotol.1958.00730010085017

Excessive mobility of the tongue was first brought to the attention of the medical world by Petit,1 in 1742, when he described three cases of tongue swallowing in children, causing death of two of them by suffocation. This was due to the excessive length of the frenulum, which failed to exercise its due influence in fixing the forepart of the tongue. Fairbairn,2 in 1845, reported a similar case of suffocation due to tongue swallowing. His description of the autopsy findings showed in detail the position of the obstructing hypermobile tongue. Henning3 mentioned two cases of children dying of acute suffocation during a paroxysm of whooping cough, apparently due to the sucking of the tongue into the pharynx in the long act of inspiration between coughs. Butlin and Spencer,4 in their volume on "Diseases of the Tongue," reviewed the literature up to the beginning of this cen

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