A tracheoesophageal voice prosthesis is a device made of medical grade silicone, which is positioned within the “party wall” which is the shared wall between the trachea and the esophagus. The voice prosthesis itself does not produce a voice. The purpose of the prosthesis is to allow air to be delivered from the lungs into the esophagus where it is expelled through the mouth. The passage of air as it travels from the esophagus to the mouth, results in vibration of tissues in the lower pharynx, or throat, producing sound which serves as the new voice for laryngectomy patients.
These devices function through the use of a one-way valves The valve serves to open as air flows through, then should close completely when speech is over to ensure food and liquid from the esophagus are not allowed to enter the trachea.
Although many advances have been made over the years, these devices, once placed, are not permanent and will require periodic replacement. How long a voice prosthesis lasts depends on many factors and varies greatly from patient to patient. The SLP staff is highly skilled in helping you to achieve the longest lifetime of your voice prosthesis and may modify your routine care and/or diet to assist with achieving longer device life as needed.
NOTE: The products and supplies described in the laryngectomy care module have been clinically proven and determined by this practice to provide the most comprehensive, advanced items in alaryngeal rehabilitation. There has been no endorsement, specific or implied, by any manufacturer. In many cases, indications for use, however, are described based upon the indications and specifications set forth by the manufacturer.
Updated Oct 18, 2013
Copyright 2011-2013 Katrina M. Jensen, M.A., CCC-SLP, PLLC