Olfaction and gustation abilities after total laryngectomy
Background. Laryngectomy affects many patient’s functions. Besides the speech and respiratory tract problems, the olfaction and gustation problems can also influence the quality of life. The aim of the study was to find out how often different nasal problems and decreased gustation appear after laryngectomy.
Methods. One hundred and five laryngectomized patients (9 women, 96 men, aged 45-88 years) treated in two tertiary centers were included in the study. They fulfilled a questionnaire about different nasal problems, olfactory and gustatory capabilities, possible allergy and irritants in their environment, and the impact of nasal and gustation problems on their lives’ quality.
Results. The olfaction was impaired in 51.4% and even not possible in 30.5% of patients. Decreased gustation abilities were reported in 26.7% and dysgeusia in 11.4% of patients. Almost 21% of patients were bothered by impaired gustatory ability and 50.5% of patients were affected by their loss of olfaction. Often nasal discharge was reported in 20%, often sneezing in 58.1%, and nasal itching in 33.3% of laryngectomized patients. There were no correlations between the age and the olfaction and gustation abilities, almost no correlation between the allergy and the nasal symptoms, and a significant correlation between the olfaction and gustation (p=0.025).
Conclusions. Different nasal and gustatory problems are reported in more than 80% of laryngectomized patients. Olfaction and gustation abilities are connected and have a substantial impact on quality of live. A rehabilitation of olfaction is thus necessary in all laryngectomized patients and must take place soon after the completed treatment.