Original Research

Quality of Life after Total Glosso-Laryngectomy

Leanie Engelbrecht, Anita van der Merwe
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 54, No 1 | a752 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v54i1.752 | © 2020 Leanie Engelbrecht, Anita van der Merwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 April 2020 | Published: 31 December 2007

About the author(s)

Leanie Engelbrecht, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Anita van der Merwe, Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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The article explores the quality of life of two participants who had undergone total glosso-laryngectomy as treatment for advanced tongue base cancer. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and questions relating to the effects of treatment on physical, functional, social and psychological well-being were asked. Thematic analysis of the interviews was done to determine recurring themes in the answers of the participants. The findings showed that total glosso-laryngectomy has a significant impact on quality of life. A good quality of life can be maintained in a patient who has an extensive support structure and can achieve intelligible oral communication. Pre-operative counselling by a multi-disciplinary team is important for a person to make an informed decision regarding surgery for head and neck cancer. Shared decision-making needs to be addressed in the South African service delivery context.


Quality of life; physical well-being; functional well-being; social well-being; emotional/psychological well-being; glossectomy; glosso-laryngectomy


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