Larynx surgery at St. Vincent’s addresses certain conditions and problems of the larynx.
Located toward the front of the throat, the larynx is made up of cartilage, ligaments, muscles and mucous membrane.
The larynx contains the vocal cords, and is also referred to as the voice box.
Disorders that can affect the larynx include:
- foreign body in the airway or esophagus (the esophagus connects with the higher pharynx, which contains the larynx)
- swallowing problems
- laryngeal clefts or fistulas
- cysts and polyps
- cancerous lesions/tumors
Surgery to treat cancer of the larynx
Our St. Vincent’s ENT (otolaryngology) specialists effectively treat the above conditions. Cancer surgery, performed by a skilled St. Vincent’s ENT surgeon experienced in the most advanced techniques, also involves our multidisciplinary team of board-certified, highly respected oncologists, radiologists, anesthesiologists, pathologists, nurses, therapists and technicians who work closely with the surgeon in planning and carrying out an individualized course of surgical and recovery care. Indeed, St. Vincent’s was recently rated #1 for ENT in Fairfield County by U.S. News and World 2011-2012 Best Hospitals rankings.
In its earliest form (state I and II) laryngeal cancer may be treated with endoscopic laser surgery, which offers better or the same rate of cure as radiation therapy. An endoscope is a slender tube with a camera and light that is inserted into the throat to locate the cancer, which the surgeon can then remove with a laser.
Types of larynx surgery
Surgery is often the best and only option for large, advanced cancers, or cancer that does not respond to radiation treatments. The types of surgery are defined by the areas of the larynx involved, but the two major types are:
- Partial laryngectomy (for small or recurrent cancers), involving removing only part of the larynx, with at least part of one vocal cord left, leaving the ability to speak; and
- Total laryngectomy (complete removal the larynx). This requires the surgeon to make an permanent opening in the neck, or tracheotomy, for breathing. A speech therapist is able to instruct the patient in how to make sounds in different ways that assist in speaking again. Full healing takes approximately two weeks.
St. Vincent's Medcial Center: Surgical expertise when you need it most.
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