Removal of the larynx is common in treatment of laryngeal cancer, but a French company created the artificial larynx that can give a patient's voice back.
According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 13,430 new cases of laryngeal cancer in the United States every year.
The larynx contains vocal cords for speech and epiglottis for keeping food or drink from entering the windpipe.
Photo by Protip Medical
The artificial larynx which is created by Protip Medical, has a rigid titanium/silicone structure.
A 56-year-old patient had his larynx removed during treatment for throat cancer. But in 2015, he received the artificial larynx or 'voice box'. He can now speak in an intelligible whisper and can breathe normally. The patient has been using the device for 16 months now.
"No episodes of pneumonia, infection, discharge, difficulty breathing or blockages were observed after 16 months of daily use," said Nihal Engin Vrana, lead researcher and vice president of Protip Medical said.
Anatomy of the Larynx
The researchers did their first implant to a patient in 2012.
Vrana states that the ideal candidate to use the device is someone who has his/her entire larynx removed. He admits that they still haven't not perfected the larynx epiglottis
function in their artificial device.
"This implant is constantly evolving and the next patients will benefit from substantial improvements" to improve the passage of food down the throat," he adds.
The researchers agree that the implant needs further testing and more improvements.
is published in New England Journal of Medicine
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