Laryngeal surgery

How we can help people who have had laryngeal surgery

Laryngeal surgery is done following a diagnosis of laryngeal cancer. It may require total or partial 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 before and after 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 they will have a weak sounding and 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 SLT UK help with?

SLT UK can help with issues arising from laryngeal surgery. After surgery, speech and language therapy will be beneficial in order to work on communication problems, swallowing difficulties and voice problems.

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 Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) aids.

How does speech and language therapy help laryngeal surgery?

Speech and language therapy can help people who have had 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.

Speech and language therapy may benefit any of the patient's communication or swallowing difficulties, it may also increase confidence and provide more social and work opportunities for a patient who has had laryngeal surgery.

What would speech and language therapy treatment after laryngeal surgery involve?

Speech and language therapy after a laryngeal surgery may include assessments, reports, therapy programmes, reviews, support groups, training, advice and education. Specific treatment following a laryngeal surgery can include:

An initial assessment will be carried out by one of our speech and language therapists. This will highlight any worries and difficulties concerning communication and speech. It will also provide a chance for you to share any concerns you may have, and allow you to discuss what you would like to work on and improve. This will include a demonstration and fitting of devices which may have been discussed as options of communication pre-surgery.


Laryngeal surgery is done after a diagnosis of laryngeal cancer. It can range from laser treatment to partial or total removal of the voice box. This will depend upon the diagnosis of each patient. Speech and language therapy can be useful both before and after operation to discuss how the individual will communicate after surgery and to devise a therapy plan with this in mind.

If you feel you may benefit from speech and language therapy or would like any more information on our services please email or call 0330 088 5643.

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