A laryngectomy is a surgical procedure to remove part of or the entire larynx (voice box).

Laryngectomy can be done in two ways: total laryngectomy to remove the entire larynx and partial laryngectomy to remove part of it. Surgery may also require the removal of some of the muscles in the neck near the larynx.

Other variations and procedures related to laryngectomy include:

  • Surgery to remove only half the larynx, or hemilaryngectomy.
  • Surgery to remove the thyroid gland, or thyroidectomy.
  • Surgery to remove only the vocal cords, or cordectomy.
  • A procedure in which the surface cells are removed from the vocal cords, called vocal cord stripping.
  • Laser surgery that uses a laser to remove a tumor or abnormality on the surface of the larynx.
  • Surgery that removes only the top portion of the larynx, called supraglottal laryngectomy.
  • Surgery to remove the lymph nodes in the neck where cancer has spread, called neck dissection.

The type of treatment depends on where the tumor is located, how large the tumor is, and when the cancer is detected. In some people with advanced laryngeal cancer, total laryngectomy to remove the entire larynx may be the only way to treat the disease effectively.

Laryngectomy is often performed in conjunction with other therapies, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, to destroy the cancer.

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