The scent-diffusing ventilator for rehabilitation of olfactory function after laryngectomy

Am J Rhinol. 2008 Sep-Oct;22(5):487-90. doi: 10.2500/ajr.2008.22.3213.


Background: The larynx bypass (LB) is the only device capable of providing laryngectomy patients with the ability to smell. Our findings regarding one-time and long-term use did reveal an improved olfactory function in these patients. Because the LB is difficult to use, however, it is not appropriate for everyday use. Therefore, we devised a new instrument: the scent-diffusing ventilator (SV).

Methods: Between January 2006 and February 2007, we researched the olfactory function of 16 patients who had undergone a laryngectomy (13 men/3 women; median age, 63 years) by using the LB and the SV. Their olfactory function was measured with the Sniffin' Sticks test battery. Further practicability of both methods was determined through a visual analog scale (1-10).

Results: The patients' olfactory function significantly improved (SV median 8 versus LB median 7; p < 0.002). In addition, the SV was much easier to use than the LB (median, 6 versus 5; p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Further technical improvements are necessary to make the SV an established part of the rehabilitation of the olfactory function after laryngectomy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Masks*
  • Laryngectomy / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olfaction Disorders / etiology
  • Olfaction Disorders / physiopathology
  • Olfaction Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Postoperative Care / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / rehabilitation
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Smell / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Yawning / physiology*