The loss of voice after total laryngectomy is one of the main impairments in personal and social life. In order to prevent potential psycho-social consequences in the patient and his family, the restoration of phonatory function is the main objective of post-laryngectomy rehabilitation. The aim of this study was to assess quality of life in patients who received prosthetic voice after total laryngectomy.
Over a one-year period, 51 patients with voice prostheses after total laryngectomy were recruited. 32 patients (62.74%) were administered radiation therapy and 9 patients (17.64%) underwent to surgical reconstruction with flaps. Each patient was administered the VHI-10 and V-RQOL self-assessment questionnaires.
The study showed that vocal restoration with voice prosthesis allows patients to recover a significant degree of quality of life after total laryngectomy. The average score on the V-RQOL questionnaire was 75.9 and on the VHI-10 questionnaire was 13.5. It has not been shown a statistically significant correlation between quality of life after tracheoesophageal prosthesis and radiation therapy, chemotherapy or reconstruction flaps. Younger patients showed, on average, a higher score at V-RQOL. These results allow to state that, after prosthetic rehabilitation, at least 75% of patients experienced an increase in quality of life. Moreover, the prosthetic technique (primary vs secondary) does not affect the long-term outcome and radiotherapy, chemotherapy or reconstruction flaps are not absolute contraindications to rehabilitation with voice prosthesis.
After total laryngectomy, rehabilitation with tracheoesophageal prosthesis is a satisfactory choice to restore the patient’s ability to communicate verbally.
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