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Old 10-20-2010, 08:37 PM   #1
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Unhappy Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

Hello! I am interesting in knowing of anyone who has had a total thyroidectomy that has ended up with their vocal chords paraylsed closed leaving only a 2mm opening and ending up having a trach like I did. I had surgery October 5th and now I can't talk and can't breathe without a trach. The dr has given me exercises and said that it should resolve in time and supposebly no damage was done to the vocal chords. Can someone please explain or tell me I'm not alone out here?

Last edited by Beth384; 10-20-2010 at 08:38 PM.

 
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:16 PM   #2
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Re: Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beth384 View Post
Hello! I am interesting in knowing of anyone who has had a total thyroidectomy that has ended up with their vocal chords paraylsed closed leaving only a 2mm opening and ending up having a trach like I did. I had surgery October 5th and now I can't talk and can't breathe without a trach. The dr has given me exercises and said that it should resolve in time and supposebly no damage was done to the vocal chords. Can someone please explain or tell me I'm not alone out here?
I didn't have the same problem with my total thyroidectomy, but I can explain it a bit.
The Laryngeal Nerve, nerves that control the vocal cords, are very close to the thyroid. I have a link that shows a picture below. They run along and underneath the thyroid. There is a chance of them being completely severed, cut or pinched during the surgery. If it can come back, sounds like it was pinched or maybe cut, but not severed. Nerve regeneration can be slow and everyone is different. I don't know how long it will take for them to regenerate, weeks, months, years?

This doesn't damage the cords themselves since they are inside the trachea/larynx. Just the nerves that control them are damaged. Hope this helps!


Edit: sorry, this is probably a better link: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/9502.htm

Last edited by NordonSD2010; 10-20-2010 at 09:18 PM.

 
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Old 10-21-2010, 04:23 AM   #3
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Re: Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

I'm so sorry you have been through this.

I would get other specialist (ontorongology/ENT) opinions---get to a major teaching hospital (or another one if your surgeon is in one), and make sure your surgeon is correct about his approach and the healing process.

 
Old 10-21-2010, 07:33 AM   #4
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Re: Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

I've never come come across a post such as this one. I hope you get better, and I'm sure you will in time.

 
Old 01-04-2011, 10:16 AM   #5
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Re: Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

Long story here, and you can read on to get the whole story. I now have both vocal cords paralyzed and have a trach also. I had a lobectomy on the left side in 2002 where they nicked the nerve to the left vocal cord thereby paralyzing it. After a year of therapy and time, I could speak quite well and probably just lost a little range and volume. Then in November of 2010, I had the rest of the thyroid removed because of a baseball sized mass with only stage 1 cancer which requires no further treatment. However, when I woke up after the surgery I had a nice tube in my throat which I now sport. The doctor said the right vocal cord nerve was stretched, but he did not see any damage and is expecting it to recover.

To date, there hasn't been any improvement and I'm trying to be patient. I will report back when something changes. I am a pretty optimistic and energetic guy, but this "pain in the neck" has stretched my ability to put on a happy face. I don't know how much of it is the trach and how much is getting the thyroid levels regulated.

 
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:10 PM   #6
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Re: Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

If your tumor was so large, why don't they do more treatment---RAI? I think once you heal this is something you should consider.

I think you need first, another surgical opinion to analyze the damage, then if everything is okay, you may need more time, and then consider a speech/voice specialist for voice therapy.

I would also consider going to a major cancer center in your case---MD Anderson, Sloane, some place where they have a lot of experience with damage from surgery, and can hopefully advise you further.

 
Old 01-25-2011, 09:58 AM   #7
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Question Re: Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

I can definitely say that there are way more of us than my ENT implied. The risks were suppose to be minimal....but here I am after a total thyroidectomy and first round of collagen injections unable to breathe, talk loudly and I have to take Vitamin D and snack on Tums multiple times a day!!!!!!! If I had known this would be the final result I would have taken my chances of leaving it in. I can't even walk fast, dance or complete normal household chores without choking and wheezing. I quit smoking last year so that I would not get emphysema and instead I am dealing with this. I now have (hopefully temporary) vocal paralysis and parathyroidism issues). I know I should be thankful that I am alive, but this is definitely not how I want to live the rest of my life. My ENT now says that he is HOPEFUL that I will make a full recovery but it has been over two months now.....I am losing hope. All I can do is trust in God and keep praying otherwise I will go crazy....it is so frustrating! I took it for granted that I could run and laugh and TALK! I would do anything to have those capabilities back....with those complaints made, the higher percentages of research posters have stated that they have made a very high percent of recovery, which could be GOOD NEWS for us more recent converts....

 
Old 01-25-2011, 10:47 AM   #8
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Re: Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

Well, so mad at ent you must have had your surgery about the same time as mine. Mine was Nov 22nd. Understand the ups and downs. I am finally this week feeling better. I had been feeling rotten more often than not since the surgery went in to see the ent. He said I may have an infection and gave me an antibiotic. Wow, I feel so much better. I still cough, but not like I did and have started back at the gym.

I too have struggled with the aggravation and waiting patiently on God. I am ready for Him to heal me, but he hasn't seen it fit to do so yet. I keep telling Him that I really am ready. I have to have faith that my nerve will heal and my good health will return. I can't imagine having this trach the rest of my life and don't like any of the options.

I go back to the ent next week and he said he will scope me to see if there is any movement. Here's hoping.

Oh yeah, my ent and I discussed the possibility of paralyzed vocal chord beforehand since I already had one paralyzed. He said that he had done roughly 60 of these surgeries a year for the past 10 years and never had a problem, but that didn't mean anything. So I guess it is rare and those of us that are going through it are seeking out others looking for encouragement. We want to find people who have had healing.

Hang in there. I hope you at least get feeling better. It's bad enough just having the trach, much less feeling rotten too.

 
Old 01-25-2011, 02:36 PM   #9
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Re: Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

mccoymail,

I've done research in this area because I was considering a similar procedure, but I don't have personal experience. Hang in there and I hope you get to feeling much better soon.

 
Old 01-26-2011, 07:19 PM   #10
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Re: Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

These stories reaffirm my decision to leave my 5cm nodule where it is... when I'm retired and don't need my voice to teach, maybe I'll consider getting rid of it... but I will take my chances for now... My best wishes to all of you who are going through this horrible result from your surgery!

 
Old 01-26-2011, 09:38 PM   #11
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Re: Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

My right cord is paralyzed because my thyroid cancer tumor had encased the recurrent laryngeal nerve and had to be sacrificed by the surgeon. I have to say that although the right vocal cord is stuck in place I am fortunate because it is stuck near the medial position. I can swallow normally and my voice is normal - it came back to normal a few weeks post surgery. My breathing has suffered however. All in all, I'm doing ok. There is no way of knowing, of course, but I'd hope that you will see some improvement over time. The nerves can be shocked for a while and everyone is different in regard to recovery.

Last edited by fireweed; 01-26-2011 at 09:40 PM.

 
Old 02-09-2011, 05:36 AM   #12
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Re: Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

I wanted to give an update on my progress. I went to the ENT last Tuesday (roughly 10 weeks post-surgery) and my vocal chord was working. So, I'm back to where I was with one paralyzed vocal chord and one working, which is quite sufficient. He put in a smaller trach with a plug to see allow the hole to shrink and to make sure I was going to be able to breathe OK. Well, I went back yesterday and had the trach removed. Praise God for healing! My vocal chords are functioning where they were prior to the surgery and I just have to let the hole close up. I pray the rest of you have healing as well. Thank you for the support and encouragement during this time of my life. I hope my story will encourage someone else and provide hope.

 
Old 02-19-2011, 03:17 PM   #13
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Re: Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

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Originally Posted by mccoymail View Post
I wanted to give an update on my progress. I went to the ENT last Tuesday (roughly 10 weeks post-surgery) and my vocal chord was working. So, I'm back to where I was with one paralyzed vocal chord and one working, which is quite sufficient. He put in a smaller trach with a plug to see allow the hole to shrink and to make sure I was going to be able to breathe OK. Well, I went back yesterday and had the trach removed. Praise God for healing! My vocal chords are functioning where they were prior to the surgery and I just have to let the hole close up. I pray the rest of you have healing as well. Thank you for the support and encouragement during this time of my life. I hope my story will encourage someone else and provide hope.


I am glad to hear your cord has healed! What a relief that must be.

I was advised by my surgeon to get a total Thyroidectomy and I am scared because of these risks. My thyroid has no goitres or cancer but there has been swelling off and on for over 2 1/2 yrs. Like a thyroiditis that never leaves. I never go hypo and have been on 5 mg of tapazole for 2 yrs and it keeps my levels stable. Surgeon said meds are not safe forever and because my uptake is normal radiation will not work. X ray shows slight deviation in trachea from thyroid swelling. Any ideas if I should get this surgery?

 
Old 04-09-2011, 05:49 PM   #14
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Re: Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

I am so happy to hear that you were able to get rid of the trach!! Congratulations.
I am also waiting for the day I can YANK out HANK (People suggested I give my trach a name...lol). You humor and motivation are inspiring as I am having a really hard time dealing with being a once active 42 year old mom to now a self concious and unmotivated scarf wearing, oozy trached mama.
I pray every appointment and scope that the vocal cord will show signs of life!
Best wishes-and send some good vibes my way.
Sherry

 
Old 04-09-2011, 07:35 PM   #15
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Re: Vocal chord Parlysis with trach after thyroidectomy

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Originally Posted by sunsetbeach View Post
I am glad to hear your cord has healed! What a relief that must be.

I was advised by my surgeon to get a total Thyroidectomy and I am scared because of these risks. My thyroid has no goitres or cancer but there has been swelling off and on for over 2 1/2 yrs. Like a thyroiditis that never leaves. I never go hypo and have been on 5 mg of tapazole for 2 yrs and it keeps my levels stable. Surgeon said meds are not safe forever and because my uptake is normal radiation will not work. X ray shows slight deviation in trachea from thyroid swelling. Any ideas if I should get this surgery?
I wouldn't get the surgery. You sound stable and as long as your meds aren't affecting your liver the meds are NOT harmful
.

 
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