Vocal Cord Damage?

Vocal Cord Damage?

Postby Pleidies » Sun May 31, 2009 3:02 am

Has anyone had problems with their voice recovering post-surgery? If it was an issue, did it get better and how long did that take? I'm not too worried about the scar, but I'm definitely concerned about vocal cord damage. No, I'm not a singer, I'm just a gal who likes her voice the way it is!
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Re: Vocal Cord Damage?

Postby Edward » Sun May 31, 2009 6:32 pm

I had a complete thyroidectomy surgery 8 years ago. My scar is about 2-3 inches. Not bad. My voice after the surgery had a little bit of hoarseness. I sounded as if I always needed to clear my throat. I was concern at the time about it but the doctors calmed me, informing me it should improve. And it did. It took about 6-8 weeks to get back to normal. It hasn’t caused me any problems since.

When the surgeons do a thyroidectomy surgery they very carefully isolate and avoid the vocal nerve as well as the parathyroid glands. It’s very important that these structures are not damaged. I’m sure your doctors told you that if the vocal nerve is damaged one can have voice changes and if the parathyroid glands are damaged (there are 4) then one will have to take calcium supplements. These complications are low but can happen. Your doctors will do everything possible to avoid these complications.

This is the part of surgery that is so scary. My wife and I were so nervous going into surgery for these exact reasons. But I was willing to take these risks to get the cancer out.

You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers in the coming weeks.
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Re: Vocal Cord Damage?

Postby kmarshall » Sun May 31, 2009 6:56 pm

I had two thyroid surgeries about 6 months ago. I did not have any changes in my voice. I remember right when I got out of surgery that’s the first thing I checked with my wife. I ask “do I sound different?” She said I sounded fine…….I was relieved.
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Re: Vocal Cord Damage?

Postby Pleidies » Sun May 31, 2009 8:54 pm

Thanks, guys. I do need to keep reminding myself that the doctors will do their best to keep all my parts working. This is my first ever surgery for anything, so a lot of first-time worries!
Met a lady at a wedding last night (mother of the bride, in fact) who had a thyroidectomy four years ago, and was as positive about the experience as one could be. I love that - it give me such hope and is such a source of mental strength right now. She said her voice was a little rough for a while, but eventually improved. That works for me. As she put it, I'll just have an extra-sexy husky voice for a bit. Awesome. ;)
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Re: Vocal Cord Damage?

Postby Rose » Sun May 31, 2009 11:53 pm

I also had some changes in my voice for a month or so. It got better. I think it had to do with the swelling after the surgery. Nothing permanent. That's right....your voice will be a little "extra sexy." That's too funny! :lol:
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Re: Vocal Cord Damage?

Postby KerryBaby » Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:46 pm

I just had my thyroid surgery about 3 weeks ago. My voice is a little rough now. Nothing big but I can just notice it. My doctor said that should go away. My neck is still sore. I have to be careful when I sleep at night. Overall, the surgery wasn’t that bad. I’m going to post my story soon.
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Re: Vocal Cord Damage?

Postby samtaters » Sat Jun 13, 2009 3:32 am

I had a total thyroidectomy at 18 (6 years ago) and two subsequent surgeries to remove cancer that had spread to lymph nodes in my neck. I had slight hoarseness after the initial surgery. It went away after a few weeks. There was no noticed change in my voice itself. During my second surgery, my thyhyoid membrane was cut through to remove a tumor behind the membrane, attached to my hyoid bone (which was also removed). This tumor was found during surgery, and upon waking up and being told an incision was made in the membrane and hyoid bone removed, I was extremely nervous there would be some negative effect on my voice. I had an excellent surgeon whose precision ensured there was no damage to my vocal chords.

It is a natural fear, but with a simple thyroidectomy, it is not usually a concern.
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Re: Vocal Cord Damage?

Postby momoftwo » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:25 pm

My voice barely changed except for the fact that I needed to clear my throat during the first week. Now it's week two since and my voice is completely back.
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Re: Vocal Cord Damage?

Postby Pleidies » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:16 am

Just a follow-up on my own post, now that I've had the surgery.

I had the surgery on July 30th, and my voice is still a little hoarse. Right after my surgery I could barely talk - they did a great job saving my vocal chord nerves, but I think the anesthesiologist was overeager in inserting the breathing tube down my throat. I hadn't considered that - but it turns out that's kindof a common complaint. It makes sense - if they jam that tube down there, it can hurt your vocal chords. They usually recover just fine, tho, and that's what I'm expecting to happen with mine. Naturally I was concerned when I couldn't talk, but all the doctors seemed confident that I would improve, so I just had to trust that was the case. Turns out they were right!

It sounds like I'm recovering from laryngitis - my voice is a little scratchy, and I can't project well in crowded rooms. It has been getting better, tho, so I'm not too concerned.

I had a follow-up appointment with my surgeon on the 13th, and he looked at my vocal chords and said the left one looks a little weak, but that it should recover. To look at the situation he used a scope that went in my nose and down my throat! That was a surprise..... but fortunately he was slow & careful.

The fun never stops around here. :roll:
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Re: Vocal Cord Damage?

Postby BenH » Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:23 am

Yeah, I hate that nose thing. One day I had two doctors do it...one was a resident. :x
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