A total laryngectomy is a surgery performed in the advanced stages of cancer. The procedure involves removing your voice box – also called the larynx. After a laryngectomy, breathing happens via an opening in the neck instead of the nose and mouth.
Before total laryngectomy
The vocal cords are folds of tissue in the throat that vibrate in the airstream to produce the voice.
The food pipe is the tube that takes food from the back of the mouth to the stomach.
The windpipe is the air passage from the throat to the lungs.
After total laryngectomy
The stoma is a permanent opening in the neck, connected to the windpipe.