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Risk Acceptance in Laryngeal Transplantation


  • This work was funded in part by Joseph C. Banis, Jr., MD, Plastic Surgery Foundation.


Purpose: Advancements in the fields of head and neck surgery and immunology have paved the way for new quality of life-improving procedures such as larynx transplantation. To quantitatively assess the risks versus benefits in larynx transplantation, we used a questionnaire-based survey (Louisville Instrument For Transplantation [LIFT]) to measure the degree of risk individuals are willing to accept to receive different types of transplantation procedures.

Methods: The LIFT contains 237 standardized questions incorporating standard gamble and time tradeoff outcome measures as well as questions assessing body image perception, depression, self-esteem, optimism, socially desirable responding, and demographics. Respondents were questioned on the extent to which they would trade off specific numbers of life-years, or sustain other costs, in exchange for receiving seven different types of transplant procedures. For this study, we questioned 243 individuals in three study populations with differing life experiences: healthy individuals, organ transplant recipients, and laryngectomees.

Results: All populations questioned perceived risks differently based on their varied life experiences and would accept differing degrees of risk for the different transplant procedures. Organ transplant recipients were the most risk-tolerant group, whereas laryngectomees were the least risk-tolerant.

Conclusions: By questioning individuals with life experiences directly relevant to the risks and benefits associated with larynx transplantation, this study provides an empiric basis for assessing risk versus benefit in this new quality of life-improving procedure.