Oral microbial colonization in laryngectomized patients as a possible cofactor of biofilm formation on their voice prostheses

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Biofilm formation on voice prostheses, which are used for voice rehabilitation in laryngectomized patients, is a main cause of device failure. The aim of this study was to assess whether the presence of periodontal pathogens in the biofilm on voice prostheses is related to that in the oral cavity and associated with the periodontal status of the patients.


Thirty-one laryngectomized patients were invited to participate, 13 of whom met exclusion criteria. The remaining 18 were classified according to the community periodontal index of treatment needs (community periodontal index of treatment needs (CPITN), grades 0–4). Biofilm samples from the oral cavity and voice prostheses were analysed by PCR-based hybridization for 11 pathogens.


All dentate patients required periodontal treatment (CPITN-3: n = 4, CPITN-4: n = 8); the remaining six were edentulous. The diversity (i.e. number of bacterial species detected) of pathogens detected on the voice prostheses correlated significantly positively with the diversity of pathogens in the oral cavity and with clinical parameters. Furthermore, the diversity of pathogens differed significantly between dentate and edentulous patients.


Results emphasize the oral cavity as an important source of bacteria for biofilm formation on voice prostheses. Whether these pathogens reduce the lifetime of the device by increased biofilm formation and/or increase the risk of silicone deterioration requires further study.

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