New clinic helps patients to regain their voice

Three health professionals and a male patient in a treatment area
FSH Vocal Cord Clinic Dr Travis Leahy, patient Brett Parkes, Speech Pathologist Brittany Vogels and Clinical Nurse Charan Kaur
August 27, 2021

It’s a simple procedure that takes just 30 minutes but the results for patients are life changing.

The newly established Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) Vocal Cord Medialisation Clinic works with patients who have had their vocal cords impacted by stroke, cancer or surgical injury.

An alternative to surgery, the procedure involves injecting cosmetic filler into the damaged vocal cord through the front of the neck (above the Adam’s apple) and is done while the patient is awake.

Where a damaged vocal cord can take up to 12 months to repair on its own, specialists are often required to wait out this period before they can refer a patient for surgery. In the meantime, this procedure takes just a day to give patients the power to talk and communicate again until the specialist can review the healing of the vocal cord.

This intervention has also become a life changing opportunity for people ineligible for surgery, such as those in their final few months.

For those people like 64-year-old Brett Parkes who was diagnosed with a brain tumour last year and lost his voice following subsequent surgery, the clinic has given him the gift of speech. Something he no longer takes for granted as he is now actively able to communicate with his wife and family again.

To mark Speech Pathology Week from 22 – 28 August, we highlighted the incredible work of the Vocal Cord Medialisation Clinic. FSH Speech Pathologist Brittany Vogels, and FSH patient Brett Parkes, joined presenter Jo Trilling in the ABC Perth studio on Monday for a chat on the Afternoon radio program.

Listen to their interview here (external link).

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