Aviva G. Asnis-Alibozek, DMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA
Regardless of the advancement of non-surgical, organ-sparing procedures with laryngeal malignancies, total laryngectomy (TL) remains the gold standard for local-regional control of the advanced malignant disease. Surgical removal of the larynx creates a new pathway for air to enter and exit the respiratory tract through a permanent neck stoma disconnected from the oropharynx. Means of respiration are achieved at the expense of the patient’s ability to speak. The life-altering changes a TL brings to a patient are drastic. It is essential to remember that complete recovery does not simply end after surgery but begins at the start of rehabilitation. The focus on full recovery should also be directed to include ways we can improve the quality of life (QoL) of these patients long after the surgical scars heal. Speech therapy and voice rehabilitation are essential and positively impact a patient’s full recovery by improving the patient’s QoL. Through the years, different methods of speech were learned and created with the sole purpose of returning one’s ability to speak after surgery. Understanding the differences and benefits between esophageal speech, transesophageal speech, and speech with an electrolarynx allows the patient a means and a choice on how to return to normalcy as they reintegrate into the world they left behind before surgery.
Santos A. Voice Restoration and Quality of Life After Total Laryngectomy. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2022; 4(4).
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