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Rare Larynx Surgery Takes Place in St. Louis

By H. Wicai, KWMU

St. Louis, Mo. – A surgery under way today in St. Louis is being billed as the first of its kind in the U.S.

26-year-old Amy Hancock was a radio DJ, but she lost her larynx and her voice to a rare cancer five years ago.

Friday she underwent having surgery that removed tissue from her arm and fashioned it into a tube that may enable her to talk.

Hancock now talks with an electro-larynx, which sounds mechanical. She says she's looking forward to having a more normal sounding voice.

They're going to take a muscle from my arm and they're going to put it in my throat," she said. "And it's going to be a faux-larnyx. It's not going to be a human sounding voice - it's not going to sound like yours. But it's going to be much better than this.

The surgery has helped about ten people in Germany. Hancock hopes to be able to speak in three to five weeks.