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  • ACDF and voice issues?

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    Old 04-17-2008, 10:23 PM   #1
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    ACDF and voice issues?

    Hello all, I have been putting off surgery for a year and a half for c5-c6 bulge and other issues at c3 thru c7 that are now at a point where I need to decide to go ahead with a surgery. As I can handle the pain the pain purpose is to prevent an "accident waiting to happen" that would be irreversible as I now have had three Neurosurgeons reccomend surgery. Being a musician for the last 40 years I know the risk of vocal scarring in the Anterior approach. I was wondering if there are any singers out there who have undergone an ACDF and what was your experience? I am actually considering a Posterior fusion despite the greater recuperation time. Any thoughts? Thanks.

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    Old 04-18-2008, 03:46 PM   #2
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    Re: ACDF and voice issues?

    Why my surgeon told me was that the reason some people have a voice issue after the surgery (though VERY rare) is that there is a nerve that supplies the vocal cords that runs through that area, and sometimes it gets stretched a little. It did not happen to me, but when he was prepping me, he said if it were to happen, it should go away in a few months. If you are a singer, I would definitely get more info from the neurosurgeons and see what their opinion of the risk is.

    Old 04-18-2008, 09:51 PM   #3
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    Re: ACDF and voice issues?

    Thanks for the reply. The Neurosurgeon actually did confirm that scarring can occur in the throat and alter the vocal quality. I am singer so that is of prime concern. I need to"get fixed" but I also have to try to preserve my voice. It is a hard choice either way one goes.

    Old 04-19-2008, 04:58 PM   #4
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    Re: ACDF and voice issues?

    ACDF surgery caused paralysis of my right vocal cord. Part of my job was doing voice overs and that ended with my ACDF surgery. The ENT at the hospital where I had my ACDF confirmmed surgery paralyzed right vocal fold (Cord) It took 2 surgeries and over 1 yr of vocal exercises (15 speech therapy sessions) to get close to my original voice. This was 1.5 yrs ago and I still suffer from voice fatigue speaking, and just forget about singing... it's impossible.

    I had the chief neurosurgeon do my ACDR at one of the top spine centers in the country.

    Here is my advice, and I learned the hard way....

    While your surgery is being performed, they have sensor monitors in critical areas which sets off alarms to warn the surgeon that they are too close to critical nerves. After my surgery was done and my cord was paralyzed a client who is a nurse anesthesiologist asked why it wasn't used. I called & asked my neurosurgeons pa and was told he didnt order it thought it wasn't necessary for the larangyal nerve!!!!!!!!!!

    Please search my posts by searching my name and you will see how it affected me.

    I was told presurgery the complications of surgery could be death, paralysis , permanent hoarsemess in less then.5% patients.
    No one mentioned paralyzed vocal cord which leaves you with a high whiney breathy voice, choking and air starvation.
    NO ONE thinks they will be in that .5% . I sure didn't. And nonfusion was NEVER mentioned and I visited 3 NS before surgery. I am fused at 1 level and not the other.

    Biggest lesson I learned, do not be swayed by the institution's reputation, research the surgeon and call the nurses where he performs surgery and ask if they themselves were having an ACDF which surgeon would they select.

    When I went back for a gelfoam injection to my vocal cord the nurses in the OR (getting my IV ready) asked me why the chief NS did my surgery and not dr so and so!

    Do your home work!


    Last edited by julyg; 04-19-2008 at 05:04 PM.

    Old 04-20-2008, 09:01 AM   #5
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    Re: ACDF and voice issues?

    Dear Julyg, Thank you for your reply and I am so sorry to hear of your loss of vocal function. It does confirm the worst case scenario regarding voice damage. I will say that the NS has been honest in saying that yes you will have some effect from this surgery on vocal quality. However they have said nothing about the possible use of any monitoring system to avoid this! It looks like I will have to have the harder posterior fusion procedure. Thanks again for your reply.

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