Speaking with a voice prosthesis


After the loss of the larynx through a laryngectomy, the restoration of voice is the prime focus of rehabilitation. For many years, voice prosthesis care for patients has been successfully established at clinics. The voice prosthesis (shunt valve) is a placeholder with a small valve that sits between the trachea and oesophagus in a so-called fistula channel.

This voice prosthesis is used either in primary surgery for laryngectomy, or in another, later surgery. This is a one-way valve that prevents food and liquids from passing from the oesophagus into the trachea.

Advantages with a voice prosthesis

  • The entire lung volume is used for speaking
  • Long period of phonation
  • Body's own voice
  • Option for finger-free speaking
  • How the voice prostheses works

Inspiration and expiration with a voice prosthesis

Two major functions of the missing larynx are replaced by using a voice prosthesis (shunt valve) between the trachea and oesophagus. On the one hand, it enables air flow. This allows the entire lung air volume to be used for speaking, from the lungs via the oesophagus into the throat. Whereby the expired air is used for speaking. On the other hand, the shunt valve seals the connection to the trachea when swallowing foods and drinks. This protects the user from accidentally swallowing nutrients. 

Voice prostheses are not implants and are changed by the physician when they lose their functionality. Different causes can make a prosthesis replacement necessary. For example, bacterial colonisation of the material (e.g. with Candida albicans) can lead to unwanted leaks, or changes in the tissue situation of the shunt canal may require replacement. 
These days, voice prostheses are available in a large variety with very different product features. 

If you would like to have details about surgical voice rehabilitation, you should contact the attending physician directly.

A voice prosthesis passport for managing your voice prosthesis data is included with every initial delivery of a voice prosthesis or can be reordered under article number 28999.