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Laryngectomy

Laryngectomy


Laryngectomy is the surgical removal of the larynx. The larynx is the part of the throat that houses the vocal cords, which allow it to produce sound. The larynx connects the nose and mouth with the lungs. It also protects your respiratory system by keeping the things you eat or drink along the esophagus and out of the lungs.

If you have a laryngectomy, it will affect your speech, swallowing, and breathing. You will need to learn new ways to do all three after the surgery.


Why?


Removal of the larynx is a serious but necessary treatment for people who:

· Have laryngeal cancer

· Suffered a severe neck injury, such as a gunshot wound

· Develop radionecrosis (damage to the larynx due to radiation therapy)


Depending on your condition, your doctor will perform a partial or complete laryngectomy.


Neck Anatomy


There are two different pathways along the throat, one to the stomach and one to the lungs. The esophagus is the path to the stomach and the larynx and windpipe (windpipe) lead to the lungs.

When your larynx is in place, it shares a common space with the esophagus called the pharynx. Laryngectomy removes the larynx, disrupting the connection between the mouth and the lungs.

After a laryngectomy, the esophagus and trachea no longer share a common space. You will need to learn a new way to swallow to adapt to this change. You will breathe through a surgical hole in the neck called a stoma. The stoma is a substitute for the normal airways that are changed during surgery.


Preparation For Laryngectomy


Laryngectomy is a lengthy procedure that usually takes between five and twelve hours. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. This means that you will sleep and feel no pain during the procedure.

Your healthcare team will perform a series of tests before surgery to assess your condition. You will also meet consultants, such as speech therapists and swallowing specialists, who will help prepare you for life after laryngectomy.

Preparation measures include:

· Blood tests and routine tests

· Physical examination

· Tips for quitting smoking if needed

· Nutritional tips to help you eat healthy after surgery

· Temporarily stop some medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and blood thinners

· Fast the day before the operation


Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, including antibiotics, anesthetics, and pain relievers.

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