Third Known Larynx Transplant Is Performed in the United States on Patient With Active Cancer

July 9, 2024
This marks one of the first times that a patient with active cancer has had a larynx transplant performed. The patient has recovered his voice and can newly swallow and breathe.

A multidisciplinary team of doctors in Arizona has performed the third known total larynx transplant in the U.S., one of the first to be performed on a patient with active cancer in the country. The Mayo Clinic's News Network has the release.

Larynx transplantation is a “rare and complex procedure, performed only a handful of times in the world.” This particular procedure took 21 hours.

The transplant was performed on a Massachusetts man diagnosed with a rare form of laryngeal cancer called chondrosarcoma; surgeries had robbed him of his voice and his ability to swallow and breathe normally, and he had “to undergo a tracheostomy that allowed him to breathe through a hole in his neck.” Faced with doctors telling him his only remaining option was to have his larynx completely removed, he joined the Mayo Clinic’s clinical trial for its Larynx and Trachea Transplant Program.

David Lott, the doctor who published the paper on the procedure, touts this instance as a step toward conducting a “true scientific investigation aimed at thoroughly researching the safety and efficacy of laryngeal transplantation as a trusted option for patients,” since it was the first of its kind to be performed as part of a clinical trial.

Four months after the procedure, the patient, Marty Kedian, “can speak with his new voice, swallow, and breathe on his own.” Doctors are planning to remove the tracheostomy tube when Kedian “regains full ability to breathe on his own.” The procedure shows great promise for lightening the burden on the “thousands of individuals who suffer from laryngeal dysfunction.”

About the Author

Matt MacKenzie | Associate Editor

Matt is Associate Editor for Healthcare Purchasing News.