A new method for in vivo evaluation of biofilms on surface-modified silicone rubber voice prostheses

E.P.J.M. Everaert*, H.F. Mahieu, R.P. Wong Chung, G.J. Verkerke, H.C. van der Mei, H.J. Busscher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


A new method is presented that permits a rapid and accurate in vivo evaluation of biofilm formation on surface-modified silicone rubber voice prostheses. The method is based on partial modification of a Groningen button voice prosthesis by exposing half of the prosthesis to an argon plasma. This results in one side of the prosthesis becoming hydrophilic while leaving the unmodified side hydrophobic as a control. Modified prostheses were placed in patients for an evaluation period of approximately 4 weeks. Despite making the silicone rubber surface hydrophilic, biofilm formation was stimulated when compared to unmodified, hydrophobic silicone rubber. Findings show that biofilm formation on voice prostheses is influenced by hydrophobicity of a silicone rubber surface. The method of partial surface modification used was seen to be suitable for demonstrating such influences regardless of nutrition and other variations in the patient's lifestyle. Microbiological analysis of the biofilms on both sides of the prosthesis valve did not show any changes in microbial composition, with Candida albicans, streptococci and staphylococci being the most commonly isolated strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-263
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean archives of oto-rhino-laryngology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofilm
  • Laryngectomy
  • Microbial infections
  • Silicone rubber
  • Voice prosthesis


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