Laryngectomy is a surgical procedure for removing whole or a part of the larynx (also known as voice box). This procedure is often performed in people with larynx cancer, when chemotherapy is unsuccessful. The surgery involves creating a new airway for breathing that opens in the back of the neck. Understand What is Laryngectomy?
It is a part of the throat which is located below the oropharynx and above hypopharynx. Larynx performs a number of functions in our body like producing a voice. Its major role is to the conduit for air to enter your lungs. It also helps in prevention of food, saliva, and liquid from entering into your lungs which can cause pneumonia.
The people who don’t deal with larynx all the time, the anatomy of the voice box can get complicated. It is protected by the thyroid cartilage as located in the middle of the neck.
The larynx is divided into three subsites from the perspective of cancer. The surgery varies from person to person depending on the position of the larynx in relation to the nearby surrounding. The larynx cancer is one of these subsites, but it can grow into another three subsites those are:
- Supraglottis: It is a part of the voice box that is located above the vocal cords. An epiglottis is a subsite of supraglottis which is located above the hyoid bone.
- Glottis: It is a small segment of voice box which is hidden behind the thyroid cartilage. The role of the glottis is to produce voice.
- Subglottis: It is a part of the larynx which is extended from the bottom of the vocal cord down to the top of the trachea (windpipe).
How to prepare for surgery
Your doctor at the clinic will tell you, how to prepare for the surgery. It is a basic procedure, in order to check if everything is safe for the surgery. In the case of laryngectomy, you should consult your audiologist prior to the surgery.
- In general, you just avoid eating or drinking 20 hours prior to the surgery. Inform your doctor in case of fever, cold, or any other signs of infection.
- Before undergoing general anesthesia for the surgery, your doctor will give a medical clearance and recommendations to optimize every body organ.
- Avoid consuming alcohol, drugs and smoking cigarette. Be transparent with your doctor about any such habits which can affect the surgery.
What to expect after surgery?
After surgery, the doctor will move you to a recovery room. It can take up to 2 hours to wake up from the anesthesia. It is a serious operation which requires several weeks in the hospital for recovery. Your speech pathologist will guide how to talk using air from the esophagus or with the help of a communication aid. While your throat recovers, you may require a tube into your stomach to fed for week or two.