Hypoglossal nerve disorders may be caused by tumors, strokes, infections, injuries, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
People with hypoglossal nerve disorder have difficulty speaking, chewing, and swallowing.
Doctors usually do magnetic resonance imaging and/or a spinal tap to identify the cause.
The cause is treated.
(See also Overview of the Cranial Nerves Overview of the Cranial Nerves Twelve pairs of nerves—the cranial nerves—lead directly from the brain to various parts of the head, neck, and trunk. Some of the cranial nerves are involved in the special senses (such as seeing... read more .)
Causes of Hypoglossal Nerve Disorders
Causes of hypoglossal nerve disorders include
A bulge (aneurysm Aneurysms of Arteries in the Arms, Legs, and Heart An aneurysm is a bulge (dilation) in the wall of an artery. (See also Aortic Branch Aneurysms and Brain Aneurysms.) Aneurysms may occur in any artery. Aneurysms are most common in the aorta... read more ) in an artery at the base of the brain
Infection of the brain stem
An injury to the neck, as may occur after surgical removal of a blockage from an artery in the neck (endarterectomy)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Other Motor Neuron Diseases (MNDs) Motor neuron diseases are characterized by progressive deterioration of the nerve cells that initiate muscle movement. As a result, the muscles stimulated by these nerves deteriorate, become... read more (Lou Gehrig disease)
Symptoms of Hypoglossal Nerve Disorders
The tongue becomes weak on the affected side and eventually wastes away (atrophies). As a result, people have difficulty speaking, chewing, and swallowing.
Damage due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis causes tiny, subtle twitching movements (fasciculations) on the surface of the tongue.
Diagnosis of Hypoglossal Nerve Disorders
Magnetic resonance imaging
Sometimes a spinal tap
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is usually done to look for a tumor or evidence of a stroke.
A spinal tap Spinal Tap Diagnostic procedures may be needed to confirm a diagnosis suggested by the medical history and neurologic examination. Electroencephalography (EEG) is a simple, painless procedure in which... read more (lumbar puncture) may be necessary if cancer or infection is possible.
Treatment of Hypoglossal Nerve Disorders
Treatment of the cause
Treatment of hypoglossal nerve disorders depends on the cause.