Laryngectomy - Overview
Complete laryngectomy; Partial laryngectomy
Definition of Laryngectomy:
Laryngectomy is surgery to remove the larynx (voice box) in your throat. All or part of the larynx may be removed in a laryngectomy.
Total laryngectomy is major surgery that is done in the hospital. Before surgery you will receive general anesthesia. This will make you asleep and unable to feel pain.
In a total laryngectomy, first your surgeon will make a surgical cut in your neck to open up the area. Important parts of this surgery are:
- Your surgeon may remove the lymph nodes.
- Your surgeon will remove your larynx and the tissues around it.
- Your surgeon will make an opening in your trachea and a hole in front of your neck. Your trachea will be brought up and attached to this hole. The hole is called a stoma. After surgery you will breathe through your stoma. It will never be removed.
- Your muscles and skin will be closed with stitches or clips. You may have tubes coming from your wound for a while after surgery.
- Your surgeon may do a tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP). A TEP is a small hole in your windpipe (trachea) and the tube that moves food from your throat to your stomach (esophagus). Your surgeon will place a small man-made part (prosthesis) into this opening. The prosthesis will allow you to speak after your voice box has been removed.
There are many less invasive surgeries to remove part of the larynx.
- The names of some of these procedures are endoscopic (or transoral resection), vertical partial laryngectomy, horizontal or supraglottic partial laryngectomy, and supracricoid partial laryngectomy.
- These procedures may work for some people. The surgery you have depends on how much your cancer has spread and what type of cancer you have.
Part of your pharynx may be removed in a total laryngectomy. Your pharynx is the tube air moves through from your nose. It connects with your larynx.
The surgery takes 5 to 9 hours.
Why the Procedure Is Performed:
Usually laryngectomy is done to treat cancer of the larynx. It is also done to treat:
- Severe trauma, such as a gunshot wound or other physical injury.
- Severe damage to the larynx from radiation treatment. This is called radiation necrosis.
- Reviewed last on: 2/28/2011
- Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Rassekh H, Haughey BH. Total Laryngectomy and laryngopharyngectomy. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 111.
Agrawal N, Goldberg D. Primary and Salvage Total Laryngectomy. Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America. August 2008;41(4).
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