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Mayo Clinic has launched a first of its kind regenerative transplant program aimed at restoring function for people who need their larynx, or voice box, removed.
In the United States about 60,000 people are living without a larynx, due to disease or trauma. The larynx is a segment of the respiratory tract located in the neck responsible for protecting the airway, swallowing, and producing speech.
After a laryngectomy, the procedure in which the larynx is removed, the patient must breathe through an opening in their neck and communicate by using a machine or a special prosthesis implanted into the throat. Currently, there is no traditional reconstructive option that can restore all vital laryngeal functions.
“A laryngectomy severely alters quality of life. The ability to smell, taste, breathe, swallow and speak are all affected,” says David Lott, M.D., a laryngeal surgeon, associate director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine, and surgical director of the Larynx and Trachea Transplantation Program at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “When the organ is damaged or removed due to disease, patients quickly realize how large of a role it played in their everyday lives.”
Read the rest on the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine blog. ________________________________________________________
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