Nearly 12,500 new cases of laryngeal cancer are diagnosed every year, making it the most common site for head and neck cancer.
Often times with advanced cancers, a total laryngectomy — or surgical removal of the entire larynx (voice box) — provides the best option for cure.
UPMC's speech-language pathologists help people restore their voices and improve their quality of life following total laryngectomy surgery. We use state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatments to provide the best level of care.
During total laryngectomy, surgeons:
The disconnection of the nose and mouth from the lungs results in a number of anatomical changes.
Following surgery, you will be unable to talk or breathe through your nose and mouth. Instead, you will exhale and inhale through the stoma.
You won't be able to sniff or blow your nose, which may decrease your sense of smell. When you sneeze or cough, the air and mucous will come out of your stoma rather than your mouth.
The speech-language pathology team at UPMC has expert training in laryngectomy rehabilitation.
We offer the following services after laryngectomy surgery:
We also offer education and training in:
There are three methods of restoring your voice after total laryngectomy surgery:
Speech-language pathologists at UPMC's voice rehabilitation program will recommend the best method for you. We'll provide training and work with you to restore your voice as soon as possible.
An electrolarynx is a battery-operated electronic device that provides an artificial vibration to replace vibration of the vocal cords.
When you place the device against the skin or in the mouth, it vibrates the tissue and creates an artificial voice while you mouth the words to create speech.
A tracheoesophageal puncture is a procedure that surgeons can complete during total laryngectomy or any time after surgery.
The procedure involves:
To talk, you take a breath and put your finger or thumb over your stoma.
Esophageal voice involves you injecting or swallowing air into the esophagus. Once you force the air into your esophagus, the air vibrates a muscle and creates esophageal voice.
To make an appointment or learn more about speech-language pathology services at UPMC: