Can you eat with a total laryngectomy?
Yes, you can eat after a total laryngectomy. The procedure involves removal of the larynx, but the continuity between the throat and food pipe is retained. Therefore, you can eat and swallow food normally. A tumor involving the larynx may make it difficult for you to eat properly, which will be relieved after a total laryngectomy. Right after a total laryngectomy, you will be fed through a tube (nasogastric or NG tube). The NG tube will be passed through your nose into the stomach. On the first day after the surgery, you will be given water through the NG tube, and later you will be given a liquid nutritional formula. Around 8-10 days after the surgery, you may be able to swallow liquids. This might be delayed because of generalized poor general health or if you have received radiation or chemotherapy. Once you have recovered enough to start swallowing liquids, the NG tube will be removed. You will be started with liquids and gradually moved from semisolid or pureed foods to solid foods. Your doctor will help you choose the right type of food for eating till you can be shifted to your regular diet. Initially, you may have some discomfort while swallowing or a sensation that the food is sticking to your throat. You may need some training to swallow after the procedure. You must sit upright when you eat so that food travels into the esophagus with ease because of the effect of gravity. It is important to take small sips or bites while you eat or drink. You must ensure that you have swallowed all the food you have taken into your mouth before you take another bite. Sipping water or other fluids between each bite may help in swallowing.
What are the complications of a total laryngectomy?
The complications of a total laryngectomy may include:
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