Laryngectomy Patient Support

A laryngectomy is the surgical removal of the larynx. The larynx, also called the voice box, is the organ in the throat that creates speech and, in conjunction with the epiglottis, prevents food from entering the airway during swallowing. 

Methods of Voice Restoration

Today, many choices are available to help restore speech. Rapid, effective rehabilitation, particularly speech, is critical to avoid the psychological, social, and economic consequences frequently experienced by the laryngectomee and his/her family.

When the larynx is removed, the top of the trachea immediately below the larynx is attached to a permanent opening made in the throat called a stoma. It is through this opening that the laryngectomee breathes. 

With persistence, the laryngectomee can learn from a speech therapist new ways of speaking, either by esophageal speech where air is injected, then expelled in a controlled way to form voice, or by using a speaking aid device known as an electrolarynx where the laryngectomee converts the vibrations to speech. 

Today, advances in medical technology enable speech production by means of a voice prosthesis. By creating a small surgical passage (TEP, or Tracheoesophageal Puncture), inside the stoma, from the back wall of the trachea into the esophageal wall, a small one- inched valved tube (voice prosthesis) can be placed into this passage to enable tracheoesophageal speech. Voice is produced by blocking the stoma, either with a finger or an adjustable tracheostoma valve, so that exhaled air from the lungs can be directed from the trachea through the prosthesis into the esophagus (where vibrations are produced) and then out through the mouth. Fluent, conversational speech is usually acquired within a few days. 

Information thanks to InHealth Technologies