Removal of Voice Box after Laryngeal Cancer Surgery

Last Modified: June 8, 2012

Share article


If I have surgery for laryngeal cancer and my voice box is taken out, how can I talk again? Is it true that my voice will be different?


Patricia Dooley,Associate Director of the Division of Speech Language Pathology at Penn Medicine, responds:

If the entire voice box is removed, called a total laryngectomy surgery, you will need an alternate mode for communication. The vocal quality will be different depending on the mode of communication used. Options for alternate communication after a total laryngectomy include an electrolarynx, esophageal speech and a tracheoesophageal speech prosthesis placement. A speech pathologist will help you determine what would be the best mode of communication post surgery.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Head and Neck Cancer Q&A Webchat transcript.

Fifty-seven percent of patients report low voice disability, 40 percent report no eating problem

Mar 2, 2010 - Patients with head or neck cancer who undergo induction chemotherapy followed by radiation in a treatment approach to preserve the larynx have a low risk of subsequent severe voice disability, according to a study presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, held from Feb. 25 to 27 in Chandler, Ariz., sponsored by the American Head and Neck Society, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, and the Society of Nuclear Medicine.

I Wish You Knew

The importance of survivorship care

View More

Blogs and Web Chats

OncoLink Blogs give our readers a chance to react to and comment on key cancer news topics and provides a forum for OncoLink Experts and readers to share opinions and learn from each other.

OncoLink OncoPilot

Facing a new cancer diagnosis or changing the course of your current treatment? Let our cancer nurses help you through!

Learn More