Cells and Materials


Patients after laryngectomy often receive silicone made voice prostheses fot speech rehabilitation. The prosthesis is inserted in a shunt between the trachea and the digestive tract. As the prosthesis is placed in a nonsterile environment it becomes rapidly colonized by microorganisms eventually leading to failure and frequent exchange of the implant. In this study, explanted "Groningen Button" silicone voice prostheses were used to investigate by scanning electron microscopy the biofilm developing on the implant. Two main types of microbial colonization forms could be distinguished. Firstly, macroscopically visible, single colonies dominating on the esophagus side of the prosthesis were found, which were built up of mainly yeast cells. Secondly, thin microbial films on the areas in between were seen in which bacteria were the dominating organisms. In both colonization forms, mixed biofilms of mainly cocci and yeasts could also be found.