What happens later at home?
The person usually spends a few nights in the intensive care unit after a laryngectomy. Fluids are given through an intravenous line. A stomach tube may be inserted in the nose into the stomach to supply nutrition until the throat has healed. The total hospital stay after a laryngectomy is usually about a week.
Before discharge, the person is taught how to care for the stoma. It is very important that the person and the family understand stoma care. The stoma is the person's only airway. It must be kept free of fluids, mucus, and anything else that can block the flow of air. Any blockage of the stoma can be very serious.
The person will need to learn a new way of speaking. Speech therapy can help to provide alternative ways of speaking. These alternative ways to speak include using artificial voice aids, esophageal speech, and voice prosthesis. It may be helpful to talk with someone who has undergone this procedure. The International Association of Laryngectomees can help provide support.
What are the potential complications after the procedure?
Surgery carries the risk of bleeding, infection, and allergic reactions to anesthesia. Keeping the new airway open is essential to prevent airway complications.