, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 172–179 | Cite as

Post-Laryngectomy: It’s Hard to Swallow

An Australian Study of Prevalence and Self-reports of Swallowing Function After a Total Laryngectomy
  • Julia Maclean
  • Susan Cotton
  • Alison Perry
Original Article


The prevalence of swallowing disorders (dysphagia) following a total laryngectomy remains unknown, with estimates varying from 17 to 70%. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and nature of self-reported dysphagia following a total laryngectomy across New South Wales (NSW), Australia. A secondary aim was to document the effect of dysphagia on the respondents’ social activities and participation. A questionnaire battery, with a prepaid envelope for return, was sent to all laryngectomy members (n = 197) of the Laryngectomee Association of NSW. One hundred twenty questionnaires (61%) were completed and returned. Dysphagia was self-reported by 71.8% of the cohort. In this cohort with dysphagia, the most commonly reported features included an increased time required to swallow, a need for fluids to wash down a bolus, and avoidance of certain food consistencies. Severe distress was reportedly associated with dysphagia for 39.7% of these respondents and prevented 57% of them from participating in social activities, such as eating at friends’ houses and/or at restaurants. The prevalence of self-reported dysphagia following total laryngectomy in this Australian study was 72%. Dysphagia can result in laryngectomees making significant changes to their diets and it has a marked impact on their activities and social participation.


Total laryngectomy Dysphagia prevalence Deglutition Deglutition disorders 



This paper is part of a wider research study that is generously funded through the Laryngectomee Association of NSW as part of Julia Maclean’s PhD studies at La Trobe University, Melbourne.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cancer Care Centre, St. George HospitalKogarahAustralia
  2. 2.ORYGEN Research Centre, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Human Communication SciencesLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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