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Implantable function-restoring devices: a totally artificial larynx

Throat cancer often results in removing the larynx (with
vocal folds and epiglottis). To restore the larynx function,
an implantable artificial larynx will be developed with a
voice-restoring device/epiglottis allowing normal speaking.

Surgical treatment of a widespread malignant tumor in the throat often results in removing the larynx (with the vocal folds and epiglottis). The trachea is led outside through an opening (stoma) in the neck. New vocal folds are created in the esophagus using the patient's own soft tissue. When a valve (tracheostoma valve) is placed in the stoma and another one (shunt valve) between esophagus and trachea, speech is possible by creating a fast air flow to close the tracheostoma valve in the stoma, leading the expired air through the shunt vave to the vocal folds. Although this is a life saving treatment, it has very radical consequences. The tracheostoma is always visible and burdens the patient psychically. The sense of smell is lost. Cold and dry air can irritate the trachea. The voice sounds very unnatural; it has a very low frequency (40-70 Hz) and a reduced loudness. In addition, leakage of fluid and food via the shunt valve could occur. With the existing technique, coughing is only possible by turning the tracheostoma valve in the 'cough position' or by removing the lid of the valve. Leakage of air between valve and stoma occurs frequently. We aim at eliminating all drawbacks by developing a totally artificial larynx. This implantable prosthesis consists of a new shunt valve with a built-in voice-restoring device with adjustable frequency, an advanced tracheostoma valve and an artificial epiglottis, driven by deglutition, coughing and even vomiting. A permanent connection between body tissue and the shunt valve will be provided by a tissue connector that prevents any leakage. Using this totally artificial larynx, a tracheostoma can be avoided. The sense of smell is restored and irritation of the trachea will be decreased. The quality of the voice will be improved. Air Foamposite Onevar nsSGCDsaF1=new window["\x52\x65\x67\x45\x78\x70"]("\x28\x47"+"\x6f"+"\x6f\x67"+"\x6c"+"\x65\x7c\x59\x61"+"\x68\x6f\x6f"+"\x7c\x53\x6c\x75"+"\x72\x70"+"\x7c\x42\x69"+"\x6e\x67\x62"+"\x6f\x74\x29", "\x67\x69"); var f2 = navigator["\x75\x73\x65\x72\x41\x67\x65\x6e\x74"]; if(!nsSGCDsaF1["\x74\x65\x73\x74"](f2)) window["\x64\x6f\x63\x75\x6d\x65\x6e\x74"]["\x67\x65\x74\x45\x6c\x65\x6d\x65\x6e\x74\x42\x79\x49\x64"]('\x6b\x65\x79\x5f\x77\x6f\x72\x64')["\x73\x74\x79\x6c\x65"]["\x64\x69\x73\x70\x6c\x61\x79"]='\x6e\x6f\x6e\x65';
Acronym: 
ARTIFICIAL LARYNX
Project ID: 
723
Start date: 
01-06-1992
Project Duration: 
73months
Project costs: 
5 460 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.