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How to take care of your laryngectomy stoma

Caring for your laryngectomy stoma area is important.

Your neck tissue is very delicate and can be damaged when you  constantly change your adhesives. This is why you should make sure  to do it as carefully as possible. It’s very important to get into good habits when it comes to looking after and caring for the skin around your laryngectomy stoma. If you do, you’ll be less likely to get irritated or damaged skin – and the adhesives will stick longer. 

Before leaving hospital you will be shown and have practiced caring for your laryngectomy. Taking care of you laryngectomy stoma can seem daunting, as with all things this will become easier and less time consuming with practice. 

It is important to get into a routine of checking your laryngectomy stoma at least three times a day. Many laryngectomees do this as part of their morning, lunchtime and bedtime routines.

You should not allow any mucus to build up either in or around your stoma or in your airway (windpipe). This could lead to coughing and may affect your breathing.

To clear mucus from your laryngectomy stoma, hold some clean tissue or gauze near to the opening in your neck, take some deep breaths and cough any mucus to the top of your airway and wipe away. The amount of mucus produced will vary from person to person.

As you are healing, your laryngectomy stoma may shrink. This is normal but it should not become too small, because that could make you short of breath. If you think your laryngectomy stoma is becoming too small, please contact your clinician promptly.

Cleaning your laryngectomy stoma:

Before cleaning around your stoma you will need to remove your laryngectomy tube or larngectomy stoma button or your adhesive baseplate and HME (heat and moisture exchanger). If you use a foam cover or a laryngectomy protector this would also need to be removed.

Equipment needed for cleaning a laryngectomy stoma:

  • A freestanding mirror
  • A good light or pen torch
  • Gauze swabs
  • Cleaning solution (this may be saline solution or freshly cooled boiled water. Use the solution recommended by your hospital team.)

Products to help you care for your skin

The Provox Cleaning Towel is designed to help you clean around your laryngectomy stoma before putting your adhesive on.

Provox Skin Barrier comes in a special wipe that leaves a protective layer on your skin. Use it after cleaning your skin, but before attaching your daytime adhesive.

Provox Adhesive Remover is a wipe that will help make it easier to take off your adhesive at the end of the day. It’s important to remove your adhesive slowly and carefully, to avoid damaging your skin. The remover wipes help to do this.

Products to help you shower

When you take a shower, use Provox ShowerAid. It’s designed to keep water out of your laryngectomy stoma, while breathing as normal, so can shower worry-free.

Just make sure your adhesive has a good seal, then attach it just like you attach your HME.

4 simple steps to start your day with an adhesive in place with a strong seal:

  1. Remove your adhesive
    Gently remove your adhesive by using the an Adhesive Remover. Keep the wipe folded up and rub it over the top of your baseplate. Lift one side of the baseplate and rub in the join, gently peeling it back as you go.
  2. Clean your skin 
    Clean your skin to help avoid skin irritation and get a good seal. Make sure you have cleaned all around the laryngectomy stoma to ensure that any oil and residue is removed. Remember to let your skin dry afterwards.
  3. Prepare your skin
    Protect your skin with a Skin Barrier to help avoid skin irritation and get a better seal throughout the day. This leaves a protective layer on the skin which will also help you adhesive stick better. Apply this before you adhesive.
  4. Apply your adhesive
    Choose the right adhesive that suits your skin and laryngectomy stoma and apply it carefully to help you get a good seal all day. Center the adhesive directly over your laryngectomy stoma and begin to apply onto you skin. Start from your laryngectomy stoma and move outwards, massaging it carefully onto the skin and into the creases and deeper parts if possible. Go have a great day!

If you need any advice and support on laryngectomy stoma care or product use, we offer a free nursing service in selected areas of the UK. Our nurses are highly skilled and qualified professionals who care for people living with a laryngectomy. Each nurse has extensive knowledge of laryngectomy neck care and is able to provide guidance around the devices you are using. You are visited in the comfort of your own home, and this service is discreet and confidential. Find out more about our free nursing service.

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Using laryngectomy stoma wipes help keep the skin around your stoma clean.

Watch a step by step guide to using Provox Adhesive Remover, Provox Cleaning Towel and Provox Skin Barrier wipes.