Mayo Clinic has developed a 3D model of a larynx, which makes it possible to restore function in people who have lost their voice box.
The throat includes the esophagus, windpipe (trachea), voice box (larynx), tonsils and epiglottis.
Trachea and larynx transplant
A combined larynx and trachea transplant may restore function for people with a damaged voice box (larynx) and trachea.
Mayo Clinic has established the first program for larynx and trachea transplant approved by the United Network for Organ Sharing. The Mayo Clinic Larynx and Trachea Transplant Program is located on the Mayo Clinic campus in Arizona. The program helps people who have damage to or have lost their voice box (larynx) or windpipe (trachea) due to cancer, disease or trauma.
The larynx is a segment of the respiratory tract located in the neck. It's responsible for protecting the airway, swallowing and producing speech. Previously, people who lost their larynx or trachea due to disease or trauma had no traditional reconstructive option that could restore all vital functions.
Now people can explore this new transplant option that offers hope of regaining the ability to breathe through the mouth, swallow normally and speak. Larynx and trachea transplants are performed in the Department of Otolaryngology (ENT)/Head and Neck Surgery by doctors with specific interests and advanced training in reconstructive surgical care of people with serious conditions of the larynx and trachea. These procedures were made possible through Mayo Clinic's research into the use of pioneering processes for transplantation.
A team-based approach
Our experts use a multidisciplinary approach to treat your throat condition that helps preserve and restore function. They work together to coordinate and customize your care.
- Transplant Center. Mayo Clinic is the largest transplant provider in the United States, with a multidisciplinary team of experts who provide care for people who need transplants of the heart, lung, liver, kidney, pancreas, blood and bone marrow, hand, and face.
- 3D Anatomic Modeling Laboratories. The experts of the larynx and trachea transplant team work closely with the 3D Anatomic Modeling Laboratories. 3D printing is used to create lifelike structures for implanting.
- Radiation. Depending on your condition, you will have access to advanced radiation therapies, such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy and proton beam therapy, which is a more precise form of radiation ideal for cancers near other vital organs.
- Comprehensive follow-up care. The Mayo Clinic care team closely monitors post-surgery healing and offers many services to assist your recovery, including speech and language pathologists who help with speaking and swallowing.
Expertise and rankings
The Larynx and Trachea Transplant Program is a national and international referral center for complex airway reconstruction procedures.
The Department of Otolaryngology (ENT)/Head and Neck Surgery at Mayo Clinic provides a full range of medical and surgical services for people with head and neck disorders and diseases, including the most complex airway, voice and swallowing disorders. Your transplant will be done by a surgeon certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.
Mayo Clinic doctors have extensive experience diagnosing and treating head and neck cancers, including very rare types. Your care team is prepared with the knowledge and resources to provide you with exactly the care you need.
Mayo Clinic, which stretches across campuses in Rochester, Minnesota, in Jacksonville, Florida, and in Scottsdale/Phoenix, Arizona, is ranked among the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals for ear, nose and throat and cancer care.
Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center meets the strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, which recognize scientific excellence and a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
Research and innovation
Our physician-scientists and researchers are committed to developing better treatments for people with disorders of the larynx and trachea. At the Head and Neck Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona, the team has expertise in regenerative medicine, which led to the first in-human 3D-molded laryngeal implant.
Learn more about the laboratory for Head and Neck Regenerative Medicine.
Our doctors are active in larynx and trachea transplant and regenerative medicine research to develop new solutions that improve outcomes. See a list of publications about larynx and trachea transplant by Mayo Clinic doctors on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.
See physician staff