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Bengaluru Doctor Invents a Rs. 50 Device To Give Throat Cancer Patients Their Voice Again

Dr. Vishal Rao, a Bangalore based oncologist, has developed a voice prosthesis that can help throat cancer patients speak after surgery. And unlike the extremely expensive ones available in the market today, this device will cost just Rs. 50.It had been over two months since a throat cancer patient from Kolkata had eaten properly. He was depressed, unable to speak or swallow, and was being fed with the help of a pipe through his nose. His financial condition made it very difficult for him to afford proper medical treatment. It was then that a doctor informed him about a surgeon in Bangalore who could be of help. So he travelled, met the surgeon and sought his treatment. After a procedure that lasted only five minutes, he was able to speak properly, swallow his food, and was even ready to travel back home – all thanks to Dr. Vishal Rao U.S.

“That day, when I came out from another surgery after about three hours, the Kolkata patient was still standing there, waiting for me. He was so emotionally overwhelmed that he just ran towards me and hugged me saying that he had never imagined getting his voice back would be so easy,” says the 37-year-old doctor.

Dr. Rao is an oncologist and head and neck surgeon at the Bangalore-based HealthCare Global (HCG) Cancer Center. He has developed the Aum Voice Prosthesis – a voice prosthesis device that can help patients whose voice box has been removed, to speak and eat properly.

Unlike the currently available prostheses that cost anywhere between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 30,000, and have to be replaced every six months, Dr. Rao’s prosthesis will cost just Rs. 50.

Dr. Vishal Rao Voice prosthesis is a device made of silicone. It is used to help patients speak when the entire voice box, or larynx, has been removed. In such cases, the windpipe and food pipe are separated from each other, either at the time of the surgery or later, creating an opening between the two. The device is then placed in this opening. Dr. Rao explains that the voice box basically vibrates with the help of air provided from the lungs. The mechanism behind the prosthesis is that instead of the vocal cord vibrating, the food pipe is made to vibrate with the back end of the prosthesis sitting at the food pipe.

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