Laryngectomy is the removal of the larynx and separation of the airway from the mouth, nose and esophagus. In a total laryngectomy, the entire larynx is removed (including the vocal folds, hyoid bone, epiglottis, thyroid and cricoid cartilage and a few tracheal cartilage rings). In a partial laryngectomy, only a portion of the larynx is removed. Following the procedure, the person breathes through an opening in the neck known as a stoma. This procedure is usually performed by ENT surgeon in cases of laryngeal cancer, and an individual’s quality of life can be affected post-surgery. Many cases of laryngeal cancer are treated with more conservative methods (surgeries through the mouth, radiation and/or chemotherapy). A laryngectomy is performed when these treatments fail to conserve the larynx or when the cancer has progressed such that normal functioning would be prevented. Laryngectomies are also performed on individuals with other types of head and neck cancer. Post-laryngectomy rehabilitation can include voice restoration, oral feeding and more recently, smell and taste rehabilitation.

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