Blog Archives

Effect of primary, cross-over, zigzag neopharyngoplasty on acoustic characteristics of alaryngeal, tracheoesophageal voice

Conclusion: The cross-over neopharyngoplasty modification of hypopharyngeal closure may help avoid pharyngoesophageal spasm and assist maintenance of effective voice amplitude, fundamental frequencies, temporal measures and perceptual values.

from the Journal of Laryngology and Otology


Botulinum toxin type A: an effective treatment to restore phonation in laryngectomized patients unable to voice

We evaluated the efficacy of Botulinum toxin type A (BTXA) as an alternative to surgical intervention to facilitate phonation in 34 laryngectomized patients (31 males and 3 women) who were unable to produce tracheoesophageal voice because of spasm of the middle and inferior pharyngeal constrictor muscles (PCM). EMG was recorded to confirm activity in these muscles during attempted vocalization. Parapharyngeal nerve block (Carbocaine 2%, 5 cc) was used to demonstrate short-term fluent voice after relaxation of the pharyngeal constrictor muscle. At a later occasion, 100 U of Botox (Allergan) in ten patients and 50 U in two patients were injected unilaterally at one location in the PCM percutaneously under EMG guidance. All patients then underwent a voice therapy program. In 11 out of 12 patients an improvement of phonation was evident after 24–48 h and it was long lasting. This result was also seen in a patient previously myotomized without improvement. Only one patient needed to be reinjected every 3 months. At a follow-up after 3 months the EMG recorded in four patients showed a low-amplitude or complete absence of activity in the treated muscle. No side effects developed. BTX therapy, especially when associated with the speech therapy, is efficacious in restoring voice to laryngectomees who are unable to voice because of spasm of the PCMs. Our results confirm previous reports. This method is our approach of choice in managing PCM spasm because it is non-invasive, not painful, has few or no side effects, and is frequently long-lasting.

from Neurological Sciences

Voice, swallowing, and quality of life after total laryngectomy—Results of the west of Scotland laryngectomy audit†

Radiotherapy has a highly significant and detrimental effect on voice and swallowing outcome after total laryngectomy. Surgical voice restoration confers significant benefit in terms of self-reported voice outcome. These findings have implications for patients with advanced laryngeal cancer considering laryngectomy and organ preservation. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2011

from Head and Neck

Correlation between tracheoesophageal voice and speech and intraluminal pharyngoesophageal transition pressure*

the good speakers presented the lowest amplitude values of pharyngoesophageal transition pressure during phonation. However, the pressure observed in the rest condition was higher for the good speakers and lower for the poor speakers, suggesting that the raise in the pharyngoesophageal transition pressure during phonation damages the quality of tracheoesophageal communication when using speech prosthesis.

from Pró-Fono Revista de Atualização Científica

Pharyngeal Swallowing Sound Profile Assessed after Partial and Total Laryngectomy

Recently, we described three components of a normal pharyngeal swallowing sound. The aim of the present study was to identify variations of these components using synchronized acoustic-radiological data in partially laryngectomized (PL) and totally laryngectomized (TL) patients before and after surgery. In this prospective study, from January 2003 to December 2006 we enrolled 14 patients in a PL group and 9 patients in a TL group. A fluoroscopy camera and a microphone were connected to a computer to obtain acoustic-radiological data (25 images/s). The subjects were asked to perform six deglutitions of 10 ml of barium suspension. The average durations of the sound variables were measured before and after surgery. The duration of the preoperative pharyngeal sound was 602 ms in the PL group and 562 ms in the TL group. It was significantly decreased after the TL (296 ms) and was increased after the PL (740 ms). A typical profile of the swallowing sound for each group was obtained. This study allowed us to describe the main variations of the pharyngeal swallowing sound induced by PL and TL. This noninvasive tool could be useful to assess postoperative swallowing function.

from Dysphagia

Rehabilitation Program for Prosthetic Tracheojejunal Voice Production and Swallowing Function Following Circumferential Pharyngolaryngectomy and Neopharyngeal Reconstruction with a Jejunal Free Flap

The case of a 68-year-old woman with postoperative speech and swallowing problems following a circumferential pharyngolaryngectomy and neopharyngeal reconstruction with a jejunal free flap is presented. The primary tumor was an extended papillary thyroid carcinoma (pT4N0M0). For vocal restoration, an indwelling Provox® 1 voice prosthesis was inserted secondarily. The patient received speech and swallowing therapy, including digital maneuvers at the level of the proximal (cervical) part of the jejunal graft to improve speech and swallowing function. Pre- and/ or post-treatment data on speech and swallowing function were gathered using the following assessment methods: esophageal insufflation test, Voice Handicap Index (VHI), videofluoroscopy of phonation (VFSph), digital high-speed endoscopy of jejunal vibration during voice production, fiber-optic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES), and videofluoroscopy of swallowing (VFSs). This case clearly demonstrates that even after extensive laryngopharyngectomy with jejunal free flap reconstruction, a tailored rehabilitation program can improve both voice and swallowing function, and that these results clearly can be objectified/visualized, underlining the validity of this approach.

from Dysphagia

Functional status after total laryngectomy: cross-sectional survey of 79 laryngectomees using the Performance Status Scale for Head and Neck Cancer

Conclusions: In post-laryngectomy patients, Performance Status Scale for Head and Neck Cancer scores improved over time, especially those for the speech and public eating domains, reflecting increasing confidence in social interactions and familiarity with surgical voice restoration.

from the Journal of Laryngology and Otology

Clinical Outcome of Window Partial Laryngectomy for Stage T2-3 Glottic Laryngeal Carcinoma

This study showed that window partial laryngectomy was successful for treating properly selected stage T2-3 glottic laryngeal carcinoma. This operation was effective for reducing surgical invasion and facilitated the resumption of respiratory and vocal function.

from the Journal of Voice

Speech Breathing in Speakers who use an Electrolarynx

Speakers who use an electrolarynx following a total laryngectomy no longer require pulmonary support for speech. Subsequently, chest wall movements may be affected; however, chest wall movements in these speakers are not well defined. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate speech breathing in speakers who use an electrolarynx during speech and reading tasks.

Six speakers who use an electrolarynx underwent an evaluation of chest wall kinematics (e.g., chest wall movements, temporal characteristics of chest wall movement), lung volumes, temporal measures of speech, and the interaction of linguistic influences on ventilation. Results of the present study were compared to previous reports in speakers who use an electrolarynx, as well as to previous reports in typical speakers.

There were no significant differences in lung volumes used and the general movement of the chest wall by task; however, there were differences of note in the temporal aspects of chest wall configuration when compared to previous reports in both typical speakers and speakers who use an electrolarynx. These differences were related to timing and posturing of the chest wall.

The lack of differences in lung volumes and chest wall movements by task indicates that neither reading nor spontaneous speech exerts a greater influence on speech breathing; however, the temporal and posturing results suggest the possibility of a decoupling of the respiratory system from speech following a total laryngectomy and subsequent alaryngeal speech rehabilitation.

from the Journal of Communication Disorders

Use of botulinum toxin in voice restoration after laryngectomy

Background: Following laryngectomy, a distinct population of patients fails to achieve successful tracheoesophageal voice. These patients’ voices range from strained and effortful to none at all. Such patients may present with severe hypertonicity or spasm of the pharyngoesophageal segment. Botulinum toxin has been used to chemically denervate the pharyngeal musculature, and is an alternative to invasive surgical procedures. The aim of this article is to review the evidence for using botulinum toxin to achieve an improvement in post-laryngectomy voice.

Methods: A Medline literature review (1966 to January 2009) and a search of the Cochrane database were performed. Foreign language articles and those not pertaining to post-laryngectomy voice restoration were excluded.

Results: Nine articles reporting a total of 134 patients were identified. Although there were differences in the outcome measures used, objective improvement in voice production occurred in between 70 and 100 per cent of cases.

Conclusion: Botulinum toxin can be used as a safe and cost-effective treatment in patients with confirmed pharyngoesophageal segment hypertonicity and/or spasm following laryngectomy, to obtain an improvement in voice quality.

from the Journal of Laryngology and Otology

Effects of audio-visual information on the intelligibility of alaryngeal speech

: Results suggest that listeners may benefit more from visual information from speakers with poor baseline speech intelligibility. Results also show similar intelligibility between typical, laryngeal and tracheoesophageal modes of speech. Results should be interpreted with caution, however, as only one speaker from each mode of speech was included. Further research is required to determine the nature of the increase.

from the Journal of Communication Disorders

Effects of audio-visual information on the intelligibility of alaryngeal speech

: Results suggest that listeners may benefit more from visual information from speakers with poor baseline speech intelligibility. Results also show similar intelligibility between typical, laryngeal and tracheoesophageal modes of speech. Results should be interpreted with caution, however, as only one speaker from each mode of speech was included. Further research is required to determine the nature of the increase.

from the Journal of Communication Disorders

Social withdrawal after laryngectomy

This investigation focuses on the psychosocial concomitants of a laryngectomy. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 218 laryngectomized patients. Standardised questionnaires were used to assess patients’ social activity (FPAL, EORTC QLQ-C30), intelligibility of speech (PLTT, FPAL), mental well-being (HADS), and perceived stigmatisation (FPAL). More than 40% of the patients withdrew from conversation. Only one-third of all patients regularly took part in social activities. About 87% perceived stigmatisation because of their changed voice and more than 50% felt embarrassed because of their tracheostoma. Almost one-third of the patients had increased anxiety and depression scores. Moderate objective speech intelligibility was found, though patients were not particularly satisfied with their voice. Social activity emerged to be independent from age, gender, treatment variables, and stage of disease. Multivariate analysis resulted in two independent factors representing two patterns of social withdrawal. On the one hand, there was withdrawal from conversation accompanied by increased depression and poor speech intelligibility. On the other hand, there were reduced social activities accompanied by increased anxiety and perceived stigmatisation.

from ORL -Journal for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology and Its Related Specialties

Oesophageal function in tracheoesophageal fistula speakers after laryngectomy

Conclusion: Oesophageal function appears to be altered by tracheoesophageal fistula speech. However, our study showed that there is no contraindication to proceeding with tracheoesophageal fistula voicing even in patients with a history of oesophageal dysfunction.

from the Journal of Laryngology and Otology

Prevention of aspiration following recurrent dislodgement of voice prosthesis: a patient’s innovation

Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first report in the world literature of this form of innovation, created by a laryngectomised patient, to overcome the problem of aspiration or ingestion of a dislodged voice prosthesis.

from the Journal of Laryngology and Otology