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Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Your Laryngectomy?

The laryngectomy procedure and the recovery are not easy to go through and the patient deserves a lot of care and support to adapt to the complex changes after the surgery. The team of healthcare providers at Cedar-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital is qualified to provide full support to help you preserve your health, avoid complications, and benefit from proper rehabilitation.

Laryngectomy is a surgical procedure through which the larynx is completely or partially removed. The larynx houses the vocal cords and allows the production of sound. It is the portion of the throat that connects the nose and the mouth to the lungs. It is also the role of the larynx to protect the breathing system by keeping the food and liquids in the esophagus, and out of the lungs.

Removing the larynx, or a part of it will affect the way a patient breaths, eats, drinks, and speaks. These activities will need an alternative way to be performed after a laryngectomy.

People who need a laryngectomy have the following health problems:

  • Cancer of the larynx
  • Radiation necrosis - damaged larynx from radiation treatment
  • Severe injury to the neck, for example, a gunshot wound

In these unfortunate cases, laryngectomy is performed under general anesthesia. The procedure can last between five and twelve hours.

Before laryngectomy, a number of tests are necessary. Also, the patient will need prior counseling about what happens after the surgery.

The general steps of the procedure:

  • The surgeon makes an incision in the neck. From that incision, the larynx is removed partially or completely.
  • Lymph nodes might need to be removed as well. They are responsible for fighting infections, but they can be affected by cancer.
  •  A stoma is created after the removal of the pharynx. A stoma is a hole in the front part of the trachea. It will be needed permanently in order to breathe.
  • In the end, the incision is closed using surgical stitches.
  • Drainage tubes might be placed into the neck before taking the patient to the recovery room. These tubes will help with the drainage of the blood and other fluids from the surgical site.

Since laryngectomy is not a simple procedure and it can be the only solution in cases of laryngeal cancer, the benefits and the losses of the way laryngectomy can impact one’s life are difficult to measure and compare.

One can benefit from laryngectomy as his/her lifespan is prolonged, but the hardships of adapting to the after-surgery life are not to be overlooked.

The benefits that can be mentioned with confidence are the achievements of technology through which procedures such as voice reconstruction and artificial humidification are possible.

A patient needs time to adjust to life after a laryngectomy. The things that were easy before, like breathing and speaking, become something that an individual needs to learn again. The support of the family is essential for patients because having a stoma (a hole in the trachea) can make people feel less confident about themselves. It can distort their body perception, and it can attract curious or importunate stares.

Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital’s specialists will discuss with the patient how to look after a stoma. They will inform patients on:

  • How to properly clean the skin around the stoma
  • How to cough and clean the mucus
  • How to use a suction tube for cleaning the mucus when necessary
  • What is the purpose of a stoma filter
  • What foods are easy to swallow
  • How to shower with a stoma

After a laryngectomy, patients might be prone to the following risks:

  • Chest infections
  • Heart or lungs problems
  • Pneumonia

And, the most common complications that are reported after a laryngectomy are:

  • Hemorrhage
  • Pharyngocutaneous fistula
  • Chyle leak
  • Wound infections
  • Tracheostomal stenosis

When complications occur, the rehabilitation of the patient might be seriously impacted, especially the voice and speech rehabilitation.

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