Voice Box Transplant Gives Woman's Voice Back

Thursday, Jan 20, 2011  |  Updated 6:45 AM PDT
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Voice Box Transplant Gives Woman's Voice Back

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A woman is able to speak again after she had a rare operation to replace her voice box, her doctors
 said.

Brenda Charett Jensen, 52, will reunite on Thursday with the international team of surgeons who performed the transplant last October. Jensen is only the second person in the world to have a successful larynx transplant.

Jensen damaged her vocal cords more than a decade ago after she repeatedly pulled out her breathing tube while under sedation in the hospital.

Before the transplant, the Modesto woman "talked'' with the help of a handheld device that sounds like an electronic voice, but always yearned to speak with her natural voice.

The operation last fall lasted 18 hours over two days. Doctors replaced her voice box, windpipe and thyroid gland with that of a donor who died in an accident. The surgery was led by doctors at the University of California, Davis Medical Center and included experts from England and Sweden.
The team spent almost two years training for the operation, honing their skills using animals and human cadavers.

Two weeks after the transplant, Jensen voiced her first words in a hoarse tone: "Good morning'' followed by "I wanna go home'' and "You guys are amazing'' to her doctors.
 

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