Unlike relatively more mature surgical transplants of organs such as the liver, kidney, heart and lung, laryngeal transplants face a number of problems, such as inadequate screening of donor blood vessels, and a lack of infusion tools to clean them.
Doctors at Sichuan University Hospital in western China recently succeeded in performing the first laryngeal transplant, the first of its kind in Asia and the fourth in the world.
The patient recovered after the surgery, and all of his transplanted organs regained their normal functions. The patient, Zhou, expressed his gratitude to the medical staff who supervised the surgery.
Zhou had a partial laryngectomy for cancer several years ago. This year, during the examination that followed the surgery, it was found that the tumor had reappeared and expanded, and the fear was that the entire larynx would be removed.
At the end of April, Professor Chen Fei’s medical team from Western China Hospital led the first attempt to transplant the first larynx in Asia on a patient. The transplant took nine hours, which is half the time taken for the first surgery of this kind in the world.
And members of two medical teams worked together to fit the blood vessels and four nerves of the patient, “Zhou”, with the donated organs.
The deputy head of Sichuan University Hospital said that the operation took place without complications, and that the patient only needed simple observation in the intensive care unit, and therefore the total cost of the operation was not high.
On the third day after the operation, the patient “Zhou” was able to pronounce some verbal syllables, and on the ninth day he was able to communicate with others with his voice, and now he can take care of himself in his daily life, and all indicators are stable with a good recovery, and soon he will be discharged from the hospital.
After the rehabilitation sessions, Mr. Zhou will regain optimal swallowing, breathing and speaking functions within three to six months.
Prior to this operation, which took place in China, there were only three successful laryngeal transplants in the world, which were in the United States and Poland.