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Rehabilitation of the olfactory sense after laryngectomy: Long-term use of the larynx bypass

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September 1, 2008
by Önder Göktas, MD, Franca Fleiner, MD, Christian Paschen, MD, Ingeborg Lammert, MD, and Thomas Schrom, MD


Patients who undergo laryngectomy typically lose their sense of smell. One device that has been used to rehabilitate olfactory function in these patients is the larynx bypass. We conducted a long-term study of the larynx bypass in 16 laryngectomized patients. After undergoing objective and subjective baseline evaluations, patients were asked to use the device at home for at least 30 minutes each day for 3 months. They were also asked to record in a diary subjective ratings of their sense of smell and the practicability of using the device every day. At study's end, patients experienced a statistically significant improvement (p < 0.001) in olfactory function on objective measurement (Sniffin' Sticks testing). Subjective improvement was seen after 1 week (p < 0.001) and maintained throughout the study. Practicability scores improved statistically (p = 0.003), but the device remained difficult to use. The long-term use of the larynx bypass has not been studied previously, and we hope that our findings will serve as a basis for further investigation.

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