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Basics of a Total Laryngectomy

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

Vocal cords
The vocal cords are folds of tissue in the throat that vibrate in the airstream to produce the voice.

Foodpipe
The food pipe is the tube that takes food from the back of the mouth to the stomach.

Windpipe
The windpipe is the air passage from the throat to the lungs.

After total laryngectomy

Stoma
The stoma is a permanent opening in the neck, connected to the windpipe.

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