• Vol. 39 No. 7, 565–568
  • 15 July 2010

Complications Following Tracheoesophageal Puncture: A Tertiary Hospital Experience



Introduction: In laryngectomised patients, tracheoesophageal speech is the gold standard for voice rehabilitation. This study evaluated complications related to the tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP) and the success rate in voice prosthesis after total laryngectomy at our institution over a 10-year period.

Materials and Methods: A retrospective review of 22 TEPs was performed between January 1998 and December 2008. The timing of TEP, type of voice prosthesis, surgical and prosthesis-related complications, and TEP closure were noted.

Results: Eighteen percent of the patients underwent primary and 82% secondary TEP. Our patients were predominantly males (95.4%) of Chinese descent with a mean age of 62.1 years. The types of voice prostheses used were ProvoxTM (n = 15), Voicemasters (n = 6), and Blom-Singer (n = 1). Prosthesis- related complications occurred in 77.3%. Notable complications were leakage (82.5%), prosthesis displacement (41.2%), intractable aspiration (29.4%), and aspiration of prosthesis (23.5%). The most common surgical-related complication was tracheostomal stenosis. An array of interventions comprising resizing or changing prosthesis type, nasogastric catheter insertion, stomaplasty, purse string suturing, and bronchoscopic removal of bronchial aspirated prosthesis were implemented to address encountered complications. In a mean follow-up of 34.8 months, 68.2% of patients achieved functional tracheoesophageal speech (75% of primary TEP and 67% of secondary TEP). There were 7 TEP closures indicated by persistent leakage, recurrent dislodgement, phonatory failure and, in 1 patient, persistent pain.

Conclusions: TEP has become an integral part in the rehabilitation of a laryngectomee. However, management of the frequent complications related to TEP requires specific efforts and specialistic commitments in order to treat them.

It has been nearly 3 decades since tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP) with valve prosthesis placement was first introduced as an alternative means of achieving voice restoration in laryngectomised patients.1 Interestingly, it had initially been advocated as an alternative to those patients in whom oesophageal or electrolaryngeal speech had failed.

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