Partial laryngectomy: A surgical procedure on the voice box designed to preserve the voice. The surgeon removes part of the voice box -- one vocal cord, part of a cord, or the epiglottis -- and leaves the rest, The stoma opening (tracheostomy) into the trachea, most often, is temporary. After a brief recovery period, the tracheostomy tube is removed, and the stoma closes up. The patient can then breathe and talk in the usual way. In some cases, however, the voice may be hoarse or weak.