A woman regained her speech as a result of France's first larynx transplant, BTA reported.
"It feels weird talking again," said the patient, who underwent the country's first larynx transplant. It was presented on Monday in Lyon by the medical team, which hopes to be able to repeat this "feat" globally in the near future.
The woman is represented only by her name Karin, 49 years old. She had been breathing through the tracheostoma for about twenty years without being able to speak because of complications after being intubated in 1996.
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A few days after the transplant, which took place on September 2 and 3, the patient was able to say a few words. Since then, the woman has been in rehabilitation of her vocal cords, swallowing and breathing in hopes of permanently restoring her ability to speak.
Immunosuppressive treatment was intensified after signs of organ rejection appeared, but on October 26 she returned home to the south of France. Because of this, she was unable to participate in the presentation of the intervention on Monday, but explained in writing that she had volunteered "to return to a normal life".
"My daughters have never heard me speak," she wrote, adding that she was armed with "courage" and "patience" to cope with the pain.
After a suitable donor is found on September 1 and Karin's family gives their consent, the operation begins. It lasts a total of 27 hours - about 10 hours for the removal of the larynx from the donor and 17 hours for the transplant.
Twelve surgeons and about fifty employees from the University Hospital of Lyon took part in this first operation under the direction of Prof. S. Lewis. Philip Siruz and his colleague prof. Lionel Bade of Edouard Erio Hospital.
The team is "proud" of this "feat", but remains cautious. "The patient is the one who will say whether this is a success," says prof. Siruz, noting that it will take between 12 and 18 months to regain motor control of the larynx.
Two larynx transplants have been recorded in the medical literature, in California in 2010 and in Poland in 2015, and these surgeries are not a priority because a dysfunctional larynx is severely debilitating but not life-threatening.
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