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  • Smell and taste recovery techniques for laryngectomees

    Smell and taste recovery techniques for laryngectomees

    Patients who undergo treatment for laryngeal cancer (total laryngectomy) are called laryngectomees. You will learn various cares and information that should be remembered, so that your surgical intervention is totally effective and healing is not traumatic. Also you will learn some smell and taste recovery techniques.

    After surgical operation, taste and smell are lost.

    Smell and taste recovery techniques, Labex Trade
    The air stops going through the nasal cavity, in which there are sensory tissues (epithelium) that are mainly responsible for smell and have an essential function in taste.

    There are ways to learn to smell and taste once again completely and have a better quality of life.

    Problems with smell (called olfactory disorders) can impact your hunger, taste, satisfaction of food, and the quantity of food you consume.

    Almost all people who have had a laryngectomy discover that they can not smell things the way they used to. This is so because the air no longer goes through the nose.

    With olfactory rehab, you can be taught methods that trigger nasal airflow and that can help you regain your sense of smell.

    Examples are the nasal airflow induction maneuver and the "polite yawn" technique.

    Individuals who have actually gone through surgical treatment cannot smell if they do not find out how to make air pass through their nostrils.

    In this sense the sense of smell is important for lots of acts of everyday life, such as finding a gas leak or a fire. Here are some smell and taste recovery techniques.

    Smell and taste recovery techniques, Labex Trade
    Smell is not impaired at all with the operation, however given that the air stops going through the nose, which is where the sense of odor lies, it does not come back by itself.

    Despite this, there are smells that are viewed with overall clearness, such as tobacco, gasoline and some more. That tells us that we have not lost our sense of odor.

    To make sure that it does not atrophy over time, what we have to do is exercises to encourage air to pass through the nose to the mouth and thus promote smell.

    To experience what this resembles, a non-laryngectomized individual can put a jellybean in their mouth, holding the nose shut. Chew the jellybean as typical.

    You will observe the sweetness, however the flavor (orange vs grape for example) is difficult to inform.

    Then launch the nose and breathe in. Suddenly, the flavor ends up being obvious. This capability to inhale through the nose is lost, and accounts for the noteworthy change in taste following surgical treatment.


    "polite yawn technique", Labex Trade
    The strategy the speech pathology personnel will teach you is likewise described is the "polite yawn technique".

    It works to assist air move through your nose, and by doing this, will also enhance your capability to taste more properly.

    Lots of laryngectomees have actually reported this makes foods taste more "normal."

    In spite of discovering this maneuver, you may still not feel as though foods taste as it did before your surgical treatment.

    With time, however, normally within the first 6-9 months, a lot of laryngectomees feel as if their food taste is "normal" again.

    One exercise is practical and very simple.

    putting a mirror under the nostrils and blowing the nose, Labex Trade
    It includes putting a mirror under the nostrils and blowing the nose, letting the air come out of it, up until the mirror is fogged up with the mist.

    At first it will fog very little or not at all, but with time we will see that it is increasingly more foggy.

    It can be made with both nostrils at the same time or by covering one and the other alternately.

    Nasal airflow induction is a strategy that enables healing of odor and enhancement of taste in laryngectomized individuals.

    It is simple to carry out and discover. It does not need pricey technical ways.

    The healing of odor and taste improves the quality of life of the patient, so this method must be present in the extensive rehabilitation protocols of the laryngectomized client.

    After an overall laryngectomy (the treatment for laryngeal cancer) everyone needs to take several unique cares into account.


    One gadget that has been utilized to restore olfactory function in these patients is the larynx bypass.

    Making use of the device at home for a minimum of 30 minutes every day for 3 months to experience a statistically considerable enhancement in olfactory function on unbiased measurement (Sniffin' Sticks screening).

    Subjective improvement can be seen after 1 week.

    Practicability ratings enhanced statistically, however the gadget stayed hard to utilize. The long-term use of the throat bypass has actually not been studied formally, and we hope that our findings will serve as a basis for additional examination.


    Smell and taste recovery techniques, Labex Trade

    Taste is not directly impacted by the operation, unless it involves partial or total removal of the tongue.

    As odor and taste are carefully connected by not smelling, the taste loses strength. That is why the significance of not letting the odor atrophy too much.

    Taste will likewise be impacted since it is closely related to smell. Ask him how to prepare the food so that it tastes better.

    On the other hand, most laryngectomees get many radiotherapy sessions specifically in the neck and mouth and that does directly impact taste.

    Taste can likewise be stimulated so that it does not lose strength.

    You can attempt different types of food or drink by enjoying it in your mouth like a jury would in a gastronomic contest.

    After surgery, taste and smell are lost.

    Because the air stops passing through the nasal cavity, in which there is a sensory tissue (epithelium) that is primarily accountable for smell and has a crucial function in taste.

    Issues with smell (called olfactory disorders) can impact your cravings, sense of taste, enjoyment of food, and the quantity of food you consume.

    Smell is not impaired at all with the operation, however considering that the air stops passing through the nose, which is where the sense of odor is situated, it is not stimulated. As odor and taste are closely connected by not smelling, the taste loses strength.

    Smell and taste recovery techniques

    Smell and taste recovery techniques, Labex Trade
    For smell, the most sensitive of our senses, it is enough that few odorous molecules reach the olfactory epithelium so that the nervous system transmits signals to the brain center, which receives them and distinguishes thousands of smells.

    With the years sensitivity decreases, but except for anatomical dysfunctions, irritating or harmful external aggressions, remains with sufficient capacity.

    As for taste, although it is independent of smell, it is seen enhanced by it since the nerve connection that originates on the papillae of the tongue shares the same receptor center in the brain.

    And just as the papillae receives flavor molecules through saliva, the smell requires molecules to enter the nose on contact of the air with the cilia.

    Total laryngectomy means that, when breathing through the stoma, the upper airways remain inactive - the air no longer enters and leaves through the nose - and, also, that salivation decreases.

    Thus, in the case smell anosmia or hyposmia occurs and, in the case of taste, it is increased by deficiency olfactory, ageusia or hypogeusia. (Loss or decrease in the uptake of odors and loss or decrement of the ability to taste.)

    The ability to taste is not usually lost, although it is diminished and altered by the lack of smell, especially if receiving radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment.

    However, in general it is recovering well for the simple act of eating.

    Even so, it can happen that some flavors feel increased and others decreased and this effect becomes normal with the passage of time.

    Some still have hypersensitivity to salty and spicy flavors, and when they have tried drinking a sip of wine, they have noticed a lot of the burning of the alcohol and little of the taste of the wine itself.

    Salivation is recovered by drinking water, limiting the ingestion of dairy products, chewing and talking, also thinking about tasty foods and the visual stimulus that food can elicit; the capture of odors, reactivating the passage of air through the nose. In fact, many laryngectomees do not reach the total atrophy of the olfactory system and perceive odors whose molecules have a high environmental concentration.

    However, if some system of induction of the passage of air through the upper respiratory tract is not exercised that makes the odorous molecules reach the olfactory epithelium, its atrophy can be definitive.

    Normally the problem of anosmia is that it is not paid attention to.

    What is worse, everything suggests that people do not know that its treatment is simple and effective.

    And that it would have to be part of the rehabilitation of laryngectomy performed by speech therapists.

    Another thing is that many laryngectomees are never treated by a speech therapist (who are usually women with sensitivity and dedication).

    "I started the recovery of the sense of smell precisely because of the performance of Eulalia Juan, already mentioned In these writings, the speech therapist at the Son Llàtzer Hospital, who taught us the technique of "polite yawn", tested its effectiveness with the use of the manometer and prepared exercises for the capture and differentiation of smells.

    And it was she who told me where I could find exhaustive information on the Internet method for the recovery of smell that had been started in Holland.

    From what we had experienced with Eulalia Juan, I began to do my tests, I conceived a simple manometer, I thought that, to force the air through the nose, you could use a tube that joined the trachea with the mouth and thus promptly restore breathing through the nose."

    If the nasal pituitary system recovers when odorous molecules reach it, what you have to do is activate the volatile circuit of the nose.

    It is almost impossible to find a permanent activation mode, but it is easy to breathe periodically with the tube that connects the trachea to the mouth.

    A tube that can be that: a simple tube flexible, or a silicone tube with specific adapters for the mouth and stoma.

    A gadget that later I have seen that is called a "laryngeal bypass" and that is even among the clinical accessories.

    It is also possible at any time and place to perform the polite yawning.

    Because what is evident is that it is not enough to exercise sporadically, the activation of airflow through the nose must be persistent and may even be beneficial for speech by stimulating the injection of air into the esophagus.

    "The laryngeal by-pass - describes the otolaryngologist José Manuel Morales Puebla - is a tube that connects the tracheostoma with the patient's mouth in such a way that when, inhaling the air would enter through the nostrils.

    From there it would pass to the mouth and from the mouth through the tube into the lungs.

    On exhalation the air would do the tour inverse, in this way, a nasal airflow is generated that allows the odorous particles to stimulate the olfactory epithelium.

    The nasal airflow induction technique consists of the generation of negative and positive pressures in the oral cavity through mouth movements in such a way that these pressures are transmitted through the rhinopharynx to the nostrils. This achieves the entrance and exit of air from them.

    During the initial training, the correct performance of the technique was checked with a water manometer, based on the properties of the communicating vessels. A 'U' shaped tube with colored liquid inside is inserted in a support that gives it stability.

    One end of the tube is connected to the nostril and the other end is free.

    The other nostril must be occluded.

    When performing the nasal airflow induction maneuver, negative and positive pressure is generated in the oral cavity are transmitted to the nose. From there to the tube and to the pressure gauge.

    "All the experimentation carried out by these simple and non-invasive maneuvers gives highly satisfactory results: evidenced by the work carried out and documented by Dr. Morales and the speech therapist Glòria Vich especially on the rehabilitation of smell. The Practices and exercises are progressively increasing and resuming the normality in the capture of odors and distinction of aromas.

    Glòria Vich, states: «Normally this consequence is not mentioned, people with anosmia could feel insecurity in their daily life. 

    For example, don't smell the smoke if there's a fire, don't smell the gas if there is a gas leak. They are not capable of detecting bad food or stew's status, they cannot perceive the body odor, as well as pleasant fragrances such as chocolate, coffee, meat, perfumes»

    Also worth mentioning is what Matilde Otero Losada, from the Laboratory of Sensory Investigations of the Hospital de Clínicas de la UBA and researcher at CONICET, states that smell is related to sensations and memories.

    The olfactory nerve enters directly in the brain and sends the information to the memory banks that are in the hippocampus. There the objective data is stored, while the amygdala is the one who has memory of the emotions. Smell has an episodic memory, that is, a single smell synthesizes a series of emotions, sensations, people, situation, place, climate.

    For all the above, we must assert the importance of treating anosmia, as it is simple and accessible in its realization.

    Not only does it have to be taught and performed in speech therapy sessions and in rehabilitation centers for laryngectomized patients.

    It is advisable to encourage individual "polite yawn" in daily life and use fresh or dried aromatic herbs, spices, flowers, aromas, shaking them near the nose to stimulate the cilia.

    A very simple and elementary manometer or with a homemade "laryngeal by-pass", which can be done with a silicone tube of about 30 cm and a bottle nipple for adaptation to the tracheostoma.

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