Hassan, with his sons, brimming with confidence.
Physicians at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Voice Clinic have helped a patient regain his voice with a series of innovative treatments, as part of a multidisciplinary approach to tackle a significant healthcare challenge.
World Voice Day on April 16 recognises the importance of the human voice and works to increase awareness about voice therapy and specialist care as part of rehabilitation programmes.
Engineer Hassan Ali Al Hammadi, a 41-year-old patient from Dubai, was diagnosed with a large polyp, or growth, in his right vocal fold. Vocal folds are sensitive tissues that vibrate in the airstream to create the voice. The polyp interfered with this process, altering his voice significantly. For Hassan, this unwanted change affected his quality of life and his ability to work.
Al Hammadi recalls, “My voice changed quite suddenly, and it was difficult to control. It sounded like I had a bad sore throat all the time. This interfered with my work, as I deliver speeches and make presentations as part of my job.”
The polyp was found during an endoscopic examination in the physician’s office and was then surgically removed at the hospital. Specialists at the clinic provided follow-up voice therapy sessions as part of the treatment plan.
The specialist operation was conducted with a delicate surgical technique using fine surgical instruments or a laser beam passing through a metal tube, called laryngoscope, which enables the surgeon to work under magnification with a microscope. This allowed for intensely precise surgery to avoid affecting the vocal folds and the patient’s voice permanently, a particularly important consideration for professionals whose voice is essential for their career.
Dr Anastasios Hantzakos, Staff Physician, Otolaryngologist and Director of the Voice Clinic at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, commented: “We have developed a comprehensive approach to tackling voice disorders, which first removes the problem surgically, while providing follow-up with the surgeon and a specialised speech and language pathologist. This is essential for proper voice rehabilitation.”
"Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provided me with a thorough treatment plan, kept me informed throughout the treatment process and gave me the time and space to make a full recovery. All my questions were answered and the staff quickly built up my confidence. The post-surgery care continued with follow-up appointments and speech therapy. It’s remarkable that the government of the UAE provides us with such a high quality of healthcare and I am hugely grateful,” said Hassan.
Postoperative voice therapy sessions are designed to ensure optimal healing. They also help manage the vocal habits that can lead to the development of scar tissue or polyps reappearing.
Hassan explains the importance of the speech therapy session to his professional life. “Working with the speech therapist, Adamantia Prachali, changed my quality of life. I work for the UAE Military, have a very active sports life and, as a jet ski marshal, I give instructions through a megaphone during races, so I need a strong voice. The therapy not only helped my voice, it also changed my whole approach to life and I will be forever grateful,” he said.
Dr Hantzakos commented: “The voice box is very sensitive, and people often ignore the detrimental effects of smoking, shouting, and poor speaking habits. They only seek help when their voice problem has become serious. Our Voice Clinic uses an advanced holistic approach to all voice-related problems, particularly for the professional voice user. Every patient is different, and our experts use the full range of state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment options to customise solutions for each patient.”
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala’s network of world-class healthcare providers, is a multispeciality hospital on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It is a unique and unparalleled extension of US-based Cleveland Clinic’s model of care, specifically designed to address a range of complex and critical care requirements unique to the Abu Dhabi population.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has the following Institutes: Heart & Vascular, Neurological, Digestive Disease, Eye, Respiratory, Critical Care, Surgical Subspecialities, Medical Subspecialities, Emergency Medicine, Anaesthesiology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Imaging, Quality & Patient Safety, and Clinical & Nursing. In all, more than 40 medical and surgical specialties are represented at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
The facilities at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi combine state-of-the-art amenities and world-class service standards. The hospital is a 364 (expandable to 490)-bed facility, with five clinical floors, three diagnostic and treatment levels, and 13 floors of critical and acute inpatient units. It is a physician-led medical facility served by North American/European Board Certified (or equivalent) physicians. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides patients in the region direct access to the world’s best healthcare providers and Cleveland Clinic’s unique model of care, reducing their need to travel abroad for treatment.
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