We do this by working closely with the ear, nose, and throat physicians in the Department of Otolaryngology at UPMC’s Swallowing Disorders Center and Voice Center.
UPMC’s team of speech-language pathologists are certified by the American Speech Hearing and Language Association (ASHA) to evaluate and treat individuals who have speech, cognitive, language, voice, and swallowing disorders. All clinicians hold a Master’s degree and are licensed by the state of Pennsylvania.
In addition, the division of Speech Pathology at UPMC has an extensive training program for clinical fellows in the field of speech-language pathology.
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The Division of Speech-Language Pathology provides inpatient and outpatient services.
UPMC’s team of speech-language pathologists provides service to UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC Montefiore (including the Rehabilitation Unit, Transitional Care Unit, and Select Specialty Hospital), UPMC St. Margaret Hospital, and Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.
Our diverse patient population includes patients with:
UPMC’s dedicated team of speech-language pathologists is certified and highly trained in laryngectomy rehabilitation . Our experts utilize state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatment procedures to provide patients with the best level of care. The goal of this program is to provide high quality care and education to restore verbal communication and improve quality of life for patients who received a total laryngectomy.
Approximately 12,500 new cases of laryngeal cancer are diagnosed every year, making it the most common site for head and neck cancer. Often times with advanced cancers, a total laryngectomy, or surgical removal of the entire larynx (voice box), is required to provide the best option for cure. During the surgery, the entire larynx is removed and the trachea (airway) is completely separated from the nose and mouth and re-directed through a permanent hole in the neck called a stoma.
The disconnection of the nose and mouth from the lungs results in a number of changes. The following is a list of some of these changes:
There are three methods of restoring voice after a total laryngectomy surgery.
An electrolarynx (EL) is a battery-operated electronic device that provides an artificial vibration to replace vibration of the vocal cords. When the device is placed against the skin or in the mouth, it vibrates the tissue and creates an artificial voice while the patient mouths the words to create speech. Electrolaryngeal voice tends to sound more mechanical than a natural voice and there can be occasional mechanical difficulties with the devices. However, the advantages of an electrolarynx are that patients can achieve immediate voice and the devices are low maintenance and can be independently cared for by the patients.
A tracheoesophageal puncture is a surgical procedure that can be completed at the time of the total laryngectomy or anytime after the surgery. The procedure involves a surgical puncture between the airway (trachea) and the food pipe (esophagus). Once the procedure is completed, a voice prosthesis is placed in the puncture tract which allows air from the trachea to move into the esophagus to vibrate a muscle to create voice. To talk, the patient takes a breath, and puts their finger or thumb over their stoma. The sound of the voice is more natural than the electrolaryngeal voice and patients are generally able to use their voice immediately. The voice prostheses needs to be changed on a routine basis and can be maintained by the patient.
Esophageal voice involves the patient injecting or swallowing air into the esophagus. Once the patient has forced the air into their esophagus, the air vibrates a muscle and creates esophageal voice. Esophageal voice tends to be difficult to learn and patients are often only able to talk in short phrases with a quiet voice. However, the sound of the voice is more natural compared to the electrolarynx and it does not require purchasing of any devices.
Our speech-language pathology team provides services following laryngectomy procedures:
Evaluation for a communication method after surgery
Cognitive-linguistic deficits may include experiencing difficulty with:
Outpatient adult speech-language pathology services include the evaluation and treatment of the deficits and difficulties noted above. Services are provided by or under the supervision of a Certified Speech-Language Pathologist.
Patients must be referred for Outpatient Adult Speech-Language Pathology Services by their doctor. Patients may be referred for Outpatient Adult Speech-Language Pathology Services following a hospital stay or after a visit to their physician.
The goal of Outpatient Adult Speech-Language Pathology Services is to provide the patient with skills necessary to communicate effectively in his or her environment. Work re-entry may serve as another goal of Outpatient Speech-Language Pathology Services.
Our commitment is to help you develop skills necessary to optimize communicative functioning in your environment.
To schedule an appointment or receive more information about the Division of Speech Pathology please contact us at the following address or phone number:
Eye & Ear Institute 203 Lothrop StreetPittsburgh, PA 15213
To make an appointment or for more information, call or email at:
Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
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