Laryngectomy is the removal of some or all the voice box, this can be partial or total laryngectomy. Larynx also referred to as the voice box, is a part of the throat, located in the middle of the throat. It performs several functions and the most important being the conduit for air to enter the lungs. Apart from that, it is also responsible for creating the voice.
Laryngectomy is recommended in cases:
Cancer of the larynx
Had severe injury to the neck, like a gunshot wound
Developed radiation necrosis (damage to the larynx stemming from radiation treatment)
Laryngectomy is a lengthy procedure, that can last between 5-12 hours and is performed under general anesthesia.
An incision is made in the neck, through which the surgeon removes the larynx.
Depending on the underlying cause, lymph nodes of the pharynx re removed. If there is treatment pharynx cancer, then there might m partial removal of the pharynx, termed as pharyngectomy.
After the removal of the larynx, a stoma is created, that is a permanent hole about the size of a nickel in front of the trachea. This is directly linked from the outside to the lung, allowing the person to breathe.
Once the surgical procedure is over, the throat muscles and the skin in the neck is stitched with surgical sutures.
Most people need to spend time in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) so that they can be under constant observation. The patient needs to spend roughly 10-12 days in the hospital, after which physical, speech and language therapy is required.
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