Removal of Voice Box after Laryngeal Cancer Surgery

OncoLink
Last Modified: June 8, 2012

Question:

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?

Answer:

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.

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