|Volume 7 Issue 7 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 7-Jan-2005 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 8-Jan-2005||Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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New laryngectomy procedure allows for quick recovery, preservation of voice box
(7 January 2005: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- A new procedure for the treatment of cancer of the larynx allows for quicker recovery and shorter hospital stays. The procedure saves the voice box and helps patients retain the ability to speak. It is currently being used by surgeons at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
“We have found that our Endoscopic Laser Laryngectomy procedure is much more effective in terms of preserving a better quality of life for patients with cancer of the larynx,” said Richard Smith, MD, the ear, nose and throat surgeon pioneering the new surgical procedure at Montefiore. “Because this procedure is much less invasive we can also do it on much older patients with better outcomes.”
“By using a laser light beam that cuts like a scalpel, we do the surgery by going in through the mouth,” Dr. Smith said. “That means there’s no open wound, and no tracheotomy (a breathing tube in the neck) is needed -- so we can save the voice box.”
Before using a laser, standard procedures for treating the cancer were by radiation, chemotherapy and traditional open wound surgery.
The larynx, or voice box, is located in the neck and has three important functions: it forms a portion of the air passageway through which we breathe, and it protects the lungs from food by closing when we eat, and is the source of our voice function.
According to the American Cancer Society, about ten thousand new cases of cancer of the larynx are reported annually in the United States.