How a KTP laser saved a retired hospital nurse’s voice
Precancerous dysplasia of your vocal cords can turn into cancer, if left too long without treatment … and that can rob you of the ability to speak. More on a minimally invasive treatment that harnesses beams of light.
Tom Mullen is a retired hospital nurse, who spent his life taking care of his patients. It was during that time that he became very hoarse and barely able to speak …
“It would just be a gradual decrease in the volume in my voice, almost to a whisper,” explained Mullen.
Tom, who smoked for years, feared the worst. Using a camera inserted into his throat, a specialist found extensive lesions on tom’s vocal cords. Prompting the doctor to recommend something called KTP laser treatment.
Ahmed M. S. Soliman, MD, Professor & Interim Chair as well as Director, Voice, Airway, & Swallowing Center, Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery of Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University explained, “Tumors, as we know, and precancerous lesions as well, as tom had, have a very robust blood supply. And so the laser pretty much focuses in on those blood vessels and chokes off the blood supply.”
The KTP’s pulsating light is an intermittent beam, which allows treated tissues to cool down, and that minimizes scarring.
Dr. Soliman commented, “He’s done great. You know it required two surgeries and then a final touchup again because of how diffused his disease was. So you know we did the first surgery, he recovered for a few weeks and then about a month later we took back and removed the rest.”
“When you start to lose your voice, seek out this help immediately, because if they catch this early, it can be rectified,” said Mullen.
KTP laser surgery is performed under general anesthesia, but has a rapid healing time and is much less invasive than traditional cutting with a scalpel or using radiation.
Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.