Friday, July 6, 2012

Botox May Help Cancer Patients Recover Their Voice

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This is a guest post by Rod Kelly, a content writer for Cosmetic Surgery. You can follow Rod at @thefreshhealth :)

The botulinum toxin is widely recognized for its ability to decrease the appearance of wrinkles in cosmetic surgery. What many people may not know is that it also has a number of health benefits as well. Hospitals in India are currently using the drug as a treatment for cancer patients who have lost their voice due to throat cancer. Patients undergoing cancer treatment undergo a removal of the voice box as a part of the treatment necessary to remove the cancer.

Tata Memorial Hospital is one hospital that is currently performing the procedure on patients who are suffering with severe voice problems after cancer treatment. The treatment helps patients that are unable to benefit from an artificial voice box. For some patients, the treatment helps patients produce sound after doctors remove the voice box due to cancer. Ninety percent of patients who undergo the removal of their voice box will be treated successfully with an artificial voice box. For the remaining ten percent, the voice box does not restore sound.

The treatment is done by injecting the chemical directly into the vocal chords that will help in the muscle relaxation in order to relieve problems such as difficulty in speaking, stammering and strangled quality of voice. The frequency of the dosage required is determined by the doctor after a post-treatment checkup.

Patients must undergo tests to determine the cause of the prosthesis failure. If it is determined that a hyperactive or hypertonic pharyngoesophageal segment causes the artificial voice box failure, the Botox injection procedure can take place. The physician must also determine the length of the hypertonic segment. The injections are made into the segment at 1 cm intervals. Patients may see results in as few as 12 hours after receiving Botox injections.

Botox injections can also treat patients without cancer who have lost their voice because of laryngeal dystonia which causes the vocal chord to spasm. Physicians inject Botox into the muscles that surround the voice box to relax the muscles and allow vibration and sound to occur.

Botulinum toxin has been studied for more than 100 years and in the last 20 years a number of health issues have been treated with the neurotoxin. Botox has been used to treat cervical dystonia, muscle spasms, muscle pain and underarm sweating in addition to the treatment for voice box problems. There are currently 21 medical uses for the neurotoxin in 80 countries, with research continuing to uncover possible new uses.

Aaron Stone MD - twitter
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