October 10, 2013

First Implantation of Human Artificial Larynx Announced!

Image taken from DNA
ProTip SAS and Strasbourg University Hospitals announced that a fully artificial larynx was implanted into a human for the first time.

Made entirely of titanium, the surgery was performed in two stages into a man with throat cancer that required his entire voicebox to be removed (laryngectomy).

Stage 1:
In June 2012, the larynx was removed and a titanium tracheal ring was implanted in its place.

Stage 2:
In November 2012, a removable valve-based device was inserted into/onto the titanium tracheal ring via the mouth.

According to reports, this device allows for both breathing as well as phonation.

What is still unclear to me from reports scavenged on the internet are the following questions which I'm sure will become more clear as more information is provided:

1) What does the voice sound like?
2) How is breathing and phonation exactly accomplished?
3) How much is swallowing impacted?
4) What is the risk of extrusion?
5) How is the valve constructed to enable voice production?
6) How is aspiration prevented during swallow?

ProTip and Strasbourg University Hospitals announce the first human implantation of an artificial larynx. MNT 10/9/13
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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