When can I get a TEP?
In this practice, the TE puncture is created at the time of the laryngectomy surgery. After a period of sufficient healing (typically 2 weeks), the prosthesis is placed in the office. In the event you do not receive a TE puncture during your surgery (usually due to more extensive surgery/reconstruction), you will be punctured after a period of sufficient healing, usually around 3-4 months after surgery.
How do I clean my voice prosthesis?
Why do I need to use both a brush and a flush when cleaning my voice prosthesis?
When using the brush to clean, followed by the flush, you are performing a similar process as when you use a toothbrush to clean your teeth and then rinse. The brush is effecting in loosening the debris while the flush ensures it is all rinsed well away.
How often do I clean my voice prosthesis?
In this practice, we recommend cleaning twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. You may also clean it, as needed during the day in the event it may not be functioning properly. You may find it helpful to clean it after each meal to assist with removing food debris that may be present. Following the instructions detailed in Cleaning Your Voice Prosthesis (link).
Is it normal for my voice prosthesis to spin in place?
Yes! It is normal for the voice prosthesis to rotate within the TE tract and usually indicates a healthy tract. You should not be alarmed if you notice this.
Alternative insertion method, still useful in some situations
What do I do when my voice prosthesis leaks?
You should first determine if the leakage is coming through the center of the prosthesis or from around the outside of the prosthesis. This can be done by drinking a colored beverage (not red) and watching when the leakage occurs.
If the leakage is coming from around the prosthesis, you should contact the SLP department for further assistance as soon as possible. See Preventing Aspiration (link).
It is not uncommon to experience intermittent leakage of the voice prosthesis. This is usually due to debris preventing a proper seal of the valve door and can typically be easily resolved by cleaning the prosthesis.
See Cleaning Your Voice Prosthesis (link).
If, however, the leakage continues to occur repeatedly, even after cleaning, you need to seek SLP attention.
See Preventing Aspiration (link)
Can I use a hands free device to speak?
Yes! There are devices engineered to allow hands-free speech. These, however, should be used once you are able to produce comfortable and reliable speech. The SLP staff can assist you in determining if a hands free device is appropriate for you.
Can I sleep with my FreeHands?
The Free Hands should ALWAYS be removed before sleeping. At bedtime, a FreeHands HME and a cap can be placed for sleeping. In many cases, however, patients may prefer to replace with a standard XtraMoist HME cassette as this provides for the most humidification during sleeping. DO NOT lock the device in the “off” position and assume this is appropriate for sleeping. The FreeHands device must always be removed for any periods of sleep, including napping.
Link to Hands Free Speech