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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 47  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 239-247

Surgical voice restoration after total laryngectomy: An overview

1 Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Royal Marsden Hospital, Fulham Road, London, SW3 6JJ, United Kingdom
2 Department of Plastic Surgery, Head and Neck Unit, Royal Marsden Hospital, Fulham Road, London, SW3 6JJ, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
R C Dwivedi
Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Royal Marsden Hospital, Fulham Road, London, SW3 6JJ
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.64707

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Total laryngectomy is potentially a debilitative surgery resulting in compromise of some of the most basic functions of life including speech and swallowing. This may have a profound adverse effect on the patient's physical, functional, and emotional health, and may result in a decreased quality of life (QOL). Until the 1980s, total laryngectomy was regarded as a dreadful, but often, life-saving procedure for which there was little alternative, and was used as a last resort. At that time survival at any cost in terms of QOL was paramount and many laryngectomies were forced into an isolated life as a mute and dysphasic recluse. Most attempts at voice restoration produced inconsistent results and often techniques were laborious, expensive, and ineffective, particularly when carried out as a salvage procedure after failed radiotherapy. Progress in voice rehabilitation, following total laryngectomy, over the last 30 years, has made an enormous difference in the whole concept of the management of laryngeal cancers. Currently there are several options available for these patients, namely, esophageal speech, artificial larynx, and tracheoesophageal speech. The choice of speech rehabilitation varies from patient to patient, but tracheoesophageal voice has become the preferred method. This article provides a brief account of surgical voice restoration after total laryngectomy. Special emphasis has been given to the surgical technique, special considerations, complications, and the prevention / treatment of tracheoesophageal voice restoration.


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