Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Novel one-step system for restoring voice in throat cancer patients

Date:
October 8, 2012
Source:
National University of Singapore
Summary:
Patients who have lost their voice box through disease such as throat cancer may be able to speak immediately after a procedure to create a small opening at the throat. A novel system cuts down a two-week duration before patients can speak, to about 10 minutes after the initial procedure.

Patients who have lost their voice box through disease such as throat cancer may be able to speak immediately after a procedure to create a small opening at the throat. A novel system developed through an Engineering-in-Medicine project led by Dr Chui Chee Kiong, NUS Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr David Lau, Consultant Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Surgeon at Raffles Hospital, cuts down a two-week duration before patients can speak, to about 10 minutes after the initial procedure.

People who undergo laryngectomy and lose their voice box can recover approximately 80 per cent of normal speech by having a voice prosthesis fitted into an opening or fistula between the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (food pipe). To speak, the patient covers the stoma (breathing opening in the neck) with his or her thumb and forces air through the prosthesis into the esophagus and out through the mouth. Before the prosthesis can be inserted, the doctor needs to make a small puncture (tracheo-esophageal puncture or TEP) in the wall between the trachea and esophagus. During the puncture, a guide-wire is inserted into the fistula to prevent the creation of false passages. Two "dilators" are inserted to widen the fistula, with the second one a little wider in circumference. Previously, a temporary rubber tube is placed into the fistula and the voice prosthesis is not inserted until about two weeks later, when the fistula is "mature." However, the new device changes this.

Explaining their invention, Dr Chui said, "We have merged all the steps into a single procedure. Most significantly, although doctors still need the nasal endoscope to guide and monitor progress during the procedure, our system ensures an immediate snug fit of the prosthesis in the passageway created between the trachea and the esophagus. Until now, this can take some trial and error to achieve good sizing of the prosthesis."

Voice prostheses vary in length for different individuals, depending on the thickness between the food pipe and the windpipe. The length of the TEP needs to be accurate. Usually, the length ranges between 6mm to 26mm. It is important that the prosthesis fits well otherwise it may be ineffective, or leak and cause discomfort.

Said Mr Chng Chin Boon, Research Engineer from NUS Department of Mechanical Engineering and member of the research team, "We added markings onto the cannula used for inserting the prosthesis. From the endoscopy, we would know the distance between the anterior esophageal wall (front wall of the food pipe) and the posterior tracheal wall (back wall of the windpipe), allowing us to size the prosthesis appropriately."

This takes away a lot of discomfort such as coughing and gagging, should the prosthesis need to be removed and fitted again if the measurement is not right.

"Most prostheses need to be changed due to wear and tear, depending on each individual. And each time, the size of the prosthesis to be inserted may differ due to tissue changes in the patient. Our invention will offer patients a more fuss-free system, cutting down time and discomfort. It will also cut down the cost for the patient as the number of procedures is reduced," added Mr Chng.

The system has been successfully tested on animals, and is now ready for clinical human trial.

Said Dr David Lau, "Patients requiring voice restoration after surgery for laryngeal cancer have to make multiple visits to the clinic, and I had often thought how a simple, one step solution would save them time, discomfort and money. So we decided to go out and design that solution."

Dr Lau added, "The system we designed has several advantages over existing methods as it not only reduces the number of steps and complexity, but also increases accuracy of placement and safety, and allows for immediate voicing. However patients will still need to put in some effort, and work with the speech therapist to get the best voicing results."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National University of Singapore. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National University of Singapore. "Novel one-step system for restoring voice in throat cancer patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008082949.htm>.
National University of Singapore. (2012, October 8). Novel one-step system for restoring voice in throat cancer patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008082949.htm
National University of Singapore. "Novel one-step system for restoring voice in throat cancer patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008082949.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins