by Editorial Staff and Contributors
This is surgery to remove the voice box (larynx). In some cases, a partial laryngectomy may be possible.
Reasons for Procedure TOP
Possible Complications TOP
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review possible problems such as:
Your chances of problems may be higher for:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
You may have:
Leading up to your surgery, talk to your doctor about:
Eat a light meal the night before the surgery. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep.
Description of the Procedure TOP
A cut will be made in the skin on your neck. The muscles that are attached to the voice box will be separated. The voice box and tissue around it will be removed.
A partial laryngectomy may be done. The doctor will remove the tumor and only part of the voice box. If you have this, you may keep some normal speech or swallowing ability.
A tracheostomy will allow you to breathe during and after surgery. This is an opening (called a stoma) from the outside of your neck to your windpipe. A tube is placed into the stoma so you can breathe. Drainage tubes will be inserted to drain blood and fluid. Lastly, the muscles and skin closed with stitches or clips.
How Long Will It Take? TOP
How Much Will It Hurt? TOP
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Medicines will ease pain afterwards.
Average Hospital Stay TOP
The usual length of stay is 7-14 days. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if you have problems.
Post-procedure Care TOP
At the Hospital
You may have:
To help you heal faster at home:
The throat tissue will heal in about 2-3 weeks. Complete recovery will take at least a month. You may notice a reduction in your sense of taste and smell. You will continue to use the stoma for breathing.
Most people are able to return to their jobs and past activities, except for swimming.
You may be referred to a support group to help you to cope with the surgery.
Call Your Doctor TOP
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
Hanasono MM, Lin D, Wax MK, Rosenthal EL. Closure of laryngectomy defects in the age of chemoradiation therapy. Head Neck. 2012;34(4):580-588.
Laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/laryngeal-and-hypopharyngeal-cancer.html. Accessed July 2, 2018.
Laryngectomy. Encyclopedia of Surgery website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed July 2, 2018.
Treatment of head and neck cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated January 26, 2018. Accessed July 2, 2018.
Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Donald W. Buck II, MD
Last Updated: 7/2/2018
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.