Aquatic Activities after Total Laryngectomy
OBJECTIVE: To assess the techniques used by patients who have undergone laryngectomies to enable them to participate in aquatic activities.
STUDY DESIGN: Unstructured interviews.
METHODS: The case histories of 4 patients who have returned to swimming and other aquatic activities after total laryngectomy were obtained by non-structured interviews emphasizing techniques used to swim, safety precautions taken, any accidents or near accidents, and perceived effect of aquatic activities on sense of well being and quality of life.
RESULTS: All 4 of the interviewed subjects swim regularly using commercial breathing aids or manual tracheostomal occlusion. One of the four is a regular surfer, who uses a homemade breathing aid. All were active swimmers prior to the development of laryngeal cancer. A single aquatic-related accident was reported by 1 of the 4 swimmers. All subjects describe feeling an enhanced quality of life resulting from their participation in aquatic activities.
CONCLUSION: Despite recommendations of most clinicians, a small number of highly motivated patients will return to aquatic activities after laryngectomy.