A laryngectomy is an operation to remove the larynx. The larynx, or voice box, is the organ that produces the sound that allows us to speak. It also prevents food from entering the air passage.
Who is a candidate for the procedure?
A person with cancer of the larynx is a candidate for this procedure.
How is the procedure performed?
A laryngectomy is done through an incision in the neck. The larynx is removed.
Air can no longer pass from the lungs into the mouth, because the connection
between the mouth and the windpipe no longer exists. So a new opening for air
to enter the lungs must be made in the front of the neck.
The upper portion of
the trachea, or windpipe, is brought out to the front of the neck to create a permanent opening. This opening is called a stoma. A tracheostomy tube is placed in the stoma to keep it
open until it heals.
Often, an operation called a radical neck dissection is done at the same time as a laryngectomy. This is done to remove the lymph nodes in the neck, to which cancer may have spread.