Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content


Laryngectomy - What is it for

Laryngectomy is a surgery that involves removal of the larynx or voice box. Removal of the larynx can be classified as a partial removal or complete removal. The extent of your surgery will be determined by the reason for your surgery, and this should be discussed between you and your surgeon. Partial laryngectomy is not discussed in this information sheet.

What is a total laryngectomy?

A complete removal of the larynx or total laryngectomy is the most commonly required surgery to ensure complete removal of the tumour or cancer affecting your larynx.

Why do I need to undergo total laryngectomy?

Your doctor may recommend you total laryngectomy for any of these reasons:

  1. You have an advanced tumour and/or cancer of your larynx
  2. You have a relapse of tumour and/or cancer in your larynx after initial non-surgical treatment (e.g. radiation with or without chemotherapy).
  3. You have a tumour and/or cancer in a neighbouring structure that entails removal of the larynx due to its close proximity to the tumour and/or cancer.

Where is the larynx (voice box)?

Your larynx is in your neck. It sits above your trachea (windpipe) and is in front of your pharynx (foodpipe) . It is part of the airway and is essential for breathing, swallowing, and speaking.

  • When you breathe, your larynx opens to let air reach your lungs.
  • When you swallow, your larynx closes to prevent solid and liquid food from getting into your lungs.
  • When you speak, 2 muscular folds in the larynx vibrate to generate your voice.

Laryngectomy - Symptoms

Laryngectomy - How to prevent?

Laryngectomy - Causes and Risk Factors

Laryngectomy - Diagnosis

Laryngectomy - Preparing for surgery