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Medical Dictionary

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Laryngectomy

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Laryngectomy Laryngectomy is the name of a surgical procedure that is performed to remove part or all of the larynx is a partial or total laryngectomy. In either operation, the surgeon performs a tracheostomy, creating an opening called a stoma in the front of the neck. (The stoma may be temporary or permanent). Air enters and leaves the trachea and lungs through this opening. A tracheostomy tube, also called a trache ("trake") tube, keeps the new airway open.
A partial laryngectomy preserves the voice. The surgeon removes only part of the voice box, just one vocal cord, part of a cord, or just the epiglottis, and the stoma is temporary. After a brief recovery period, the trache tube is removed, and the stoma closes up. The patient can then breathe and talk in the usual way. In some cases, however, the voice may be hoarse or weak.
In a total laryngectomy, the whole voice box is removed, and the stoma is permanent. The patient, called a laryngectomee, breathes through the stoma. A laryngectomee must learn to talk in a new way.
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