Laryngeal Surgery

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What to expect

Laryngeal surgery

Laryngeal surgery is done following a diagnosis of laryngeal cancer. It may require all or part removal of the larynx or it may just involve taking the affected tissues away. Speech and language therapists play a key role in helping to support individuals who are having laryngeal surgery by helping them to communicate as effectively as possible. The speech and language therapist will be involved both pre and post surgery and may explore alternative ways of communicating.

What is laryngeal surgery?

Laryngeal Surgery may involve full or partial removal of the larynx. It may on the other hand include laser or endoscopic surgery. The extent at which surgery will be needed depends upon the diagnosis and treatment plan of each individual. The two different types of laryngectomy are:

Partial laryngectomy

Partial Laryngectomy is when part of the voice box is removed. A patient who has this surgery will still be able to speak, however will have a weak sounding hoarse voice.

Total laryngectomy

A total laryngectomy is when the whole voice box is removed. The windpipe is attached to a hole in the neck to enable breathing. After this, a patient will be unable to speak in the normal way. Therefore speech and language therapy will be needed in order to decide upon an alternative method of communication. Usually, a speech and language therapist will meet a patient before the surgery in order to decide upon the best method of communication for their individual needs and requirements.

What problems caused by laryngeal surgery can speech and language therapy help with?

Speech and language therapy can help with issues arising from laryngeal surgery. After surgery, speech and language therapy will be beneficial in order to work on the following areas:

A speech and language therapy plan will be devised between the individual and the therapist, allowing for the most appropriate measures to be put into place. These measures may include Alternative and Augmentative Communication aids (AAC).

How does speech and language therapy help laryngeal surgery?

Speech and language therapy can help people who suffer from laryngeal surgery in many different ways. This can be before or after surgery and will depend upon severity. Speech and language therapists will develop strategies for speech intelligibility and will ensure each therapy plan is personal and specific to each person receiving treatment. This programme will often be coupled with rehab and aims to achieve the best possible communication for each individual.

Benefits of speech and language therapy for someone who has had laryngeal surgery include:

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All our speech and language therapists are registered with the RCSLT and the HCPC

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