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Old 08-17-2005, 07:38 PM   #1
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Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

I had half my thyroid removed on June 16. I had a large benign tumor on the right half of my thyroid and the vocal cord was entangled in it. Removing it caused some "stretching and trauma" to the nerve, but did not sever it in any place and it is in tact, according to the doctor. As a result my voisy is raspy, whispy, and breathy. I can hardly be heard at times. Can't finish some sentences without having to take an additional breath.
The doctor said this was typical of the temporary damage and it would heal. He insinuated that I should be back to normal in 2-3 months. Okay, I am at 2 months now and my friends say I don't sound any different than I did a week after surgery.
I am a bit confused as to whether I should be worried, or should go back to the doctor and ask if this might be permanent or if I could have some speech therapy.
Has anyone else suffered this kind of damage and what was the end result? Did your voice ever come back? How long does it really take?
I once sang in musicals and was once told I could be a professional singer. I'm too old to pursue a singing career but I sure miss being able to sing. Any comments?

Cindy

Last edited by gimpydimp; 08-17-2005 at 07:40 PM.

 
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Old 08-17-2005, 08:07 PM   #2
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Re: Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

Cindy,
I just had a TT 2 weeks ago and my left lobe was totally wrapped around my vocal chord. Now prior to surgery my voice was so hoarse I could hardly talk on some days but right after surgery it was gone. I had no ill effects in that way, but what I have is when I talk or chew it will swell and becomes pretty painful. The surgeon said it is totally normal for it to "react" to being so handled for up to a year. I have had dramatic improvment this last week, but still, if I talk on the phone, I can feel it start to swell after about 10 minutes, it is so bothersome.

Can I ask you this..............are you still having trouble with eating solids? Here I am over 2 weeks post-op and I am still eating mostly pudding because chewing and swallowing solids causes the chord to swell as well.

From what I was told by my surgeon, with the severity of entanglement I am very lucky to have any use of it, sounds like you are in the same situation.

Did anyone have any idea how big yours was prior to surgery?

Best wishes,
Karen

 
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Old 08-18-2005, 05:40 AM   #3
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Re: Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

Mine were damaged too when I had my surgery many years ago. It was about 8 months before I noticed a big difference.

 
Old 08-18-2005, 06:54 AM   #4
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Re: Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

cindy i had my tt in dec 04 i suffered the same exact thing, my vocal cords were parylized from being stretched i did not regain my voice untill 3 months later after the ent told me it might be permanent, i had to put liquid thickner in my drinks i would aspirate all the time couldn't talk and it sounded breathy and i had to also quit talking to breathe it was hard for me to breathe walking up stairs doing a lot was hard.you should go to an ent dr. and also a lung specialist and ask for a lung function test, and insist to the doctors that you are not fine and u want answers that is what i did.when u go to the lung doctor keep me informed i am curious to hear what they say. i went to one and found out i also have lung problems and i am wondering if it is due to the surgery. good luck and try not to worry its only been 2 months, it takes a while for the vocal cords to heal.

 
Old 08-18-2005, 07:01 AM   #5
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Re: Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

ps i also went to speech therapy with a speech pathologist, i was ble to eat solids but not drink liquids, she helped me drink with that liquid thickner and talking excersise, and also it would feel like someone was choking me all the time. but in time it all healed,

 
Old 08-18-2005, 08:34 AM   #6
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Re: Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

I wanted to wish everyone well. You know if it wasn't for this board I wouldn't have known how important it is for this NOT to happen! It was through information I got here that I sought out a different kind of surgeon to do a TT. Just for everyone's future reference and vascular surgeon is the best guy for a TT. Actually my endo told me ent's have the highest incidence of vocal chord/parathyroid damage so I went with his advice. He was the one who told me that he had only ever used vascular surgeons. Just a tip I will pass on since I have learned so much myself from you wonderful folks.

I hope everyone gets this solved. It is a horrible sensation when your vocal chord is messed with.

Best wishes,
Karen

 
Old 08-18-2005, 08:43 AM   #7
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Re: Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

Kant - I must disagree with you. My ENT was fantastic and he does head and neck surgery, thyroid surgery, etc. I had absolutely no trouble with anything after my thyroid surgery 3 months ago. Was talking normal when I work up from surgery. My doc is in the Chicago Area, if you're around here I would suggest you get a second opinion.

 
Old 08-18-2005, 08:49 AM   #8
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Re: Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

didn't mean to say anything about your's personally..............it was a blanket statement that my endo made. I just noticed that most that are having these problems used ent's. Just trying to be helpful is all I am glad your's was fantastic and you had no problems.

Karen

 
Old 08-18-2005, 06:17 PM   #9
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Re: Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

Kant:

I never had problems with solids but liquids where just impossible for a few days after the surgery. Only way I could anything liquid down was so suck ice. That subsided after about 2 weeks although occasionally I can aspirate some liquid and go into a choking fit. The voice thing sure is taking a lot longer to fix itself.

Has anyone tried taking an expectorant to try and loosen any mucus down there.I know it's annoying to other people that I sound like I need to clear my throat, but most of the time that doesn't do anything anyway. I keep thinking mucus is part of the issue, but I guess not.

 
Old 08-18-2005, 06:29 PM   #10
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Re: Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

gimp,
Sorry you still have the voice issue. That must be so annoying and frustrating. Isn't it strange that you had difficulties with liquids and I had it with solids? I guess 2 different issues, huh?

Anyway, I am just glad it is all behind us! )

Karen

 
Old 08-18-2005, 07:02 PM   #11
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Re: Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

After I had my surgery many years ago. I had problems with swallowing both liquids and solids. The next day at lunch they brought me solids. I said no way I can eat that yet. So they brought me jello then. Then for dinner they brought more solids again, again I asked for jello but this time they refused to bring me jello and told me its solids no ifs ands or buts.

 
Old 08-18-2005, 10:14 PM   #12
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Re: Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

Sandra, I'll tell ya these hospitals don't give a crap do they? I thought the nurses all acted like I was a pain in their rump instead of acting like I had just had pretty major surgery and needed their care! The one nurse would huff and puff if I asked for ice chips! I could have scratched her eyes out.

Did it take you a good while for solids to go down easy?

Karen

 
Old 08-18-2005, 10:38 PM   #13
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Re: Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

It took quite a while, I think it was at least 6 months before it wasn't too bad. And yea I couldn't believe what they did. This was 20 years ago.
And yes there are many people that are nurses and shouldn't be. I had my first taste of that when I was 5 and had to have an operation. OMG she was the b--h from hell. And I got mad at her cause the way I was treated by her and threw my toys at her so she threw them in the trash on me. She was even telling the Dr. what to do. Unreal eh. I think a lot of nurses need to be watched more IMO.

I was the typical kid too that was afraid of pills so all my meds were in liquid form for me back then. Well picture this b--h nurse, laying on top of me pinning me down and litterally trying to shove a pill down my throat yelling at me I'll get this pill down you. I can't believe she was never fired. Maybe she was in time or I hope she quit as that wasn't the profession for her obviously.

Last edited by SandraM; 08-18-2005 at 10:50 PM.

 
Old 08-19-2005, 04:44 AM   #14
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Re: Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

I had my right thyroid removed July 26. The nodule was huge. 7cm. My vocal cord isn't working. They also found cancer. My ENT wanted me to go back in 2 weeks later and remove the other side. I went to a thyroid surgeon for a second opinion. She is wanting to do everything differently. Just keep a check on everything closely and try to wait and see if the vocal cord comes back. Her nurse is suppose to call today to give me all the details. My voice is somewhat okay early in the morning but by lunchtime all I can do is whisper. I still have to chew my food till it is liquid before I can swallow it. I feel like I need to clear my throat constantly. Eating has become such a pain. When I am talking to anybody they keep asking me to repeat myself. I have always been a talker and love to talk on the phone. I try to avoid it now. My husband who hates talking on the phone has had to keep everybody updated cause I can't. When my voice gives out I use pencil and paper. I get breathless if I try to keep talking. I am also having some kind of allergic reaction that keeps my throat feeling swollen and sore most of the time. My husband brought a dog into the house at Christmas and by May I was having problems. The dog has allergies and her hair started coming out around that time. I take Benadryl almost everyday. I am miserable. With the thyroid problems this is not a fun time.

 
Old 08-19-2005, 11:09 AM   #15
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Re: Vocal cord damage after thyroid surgery

Lucado,
What a time you are having! I am so sorry. I too am having trouble eating solids. That swallowing is a killer! The surgeon told me that although my vocal chord was fine, he "beat it up" and that they will swell on you when you talk or eat and can take quite a while to calm down.

Do you feel comfortable with your second opinion? I am so glad you got one. So many just get one and go with it. It is so worth it to do your footwork and get all kinds of info.

Keep me posted on your progress!

Karen

 
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