Post thyroidectomy voice
by AngieB1, Oct 26, 2008
I had a total thyroidectomy July of this year and my voice still hasn't come back above a loud whisper. It's raspy when I try to talk loud enough to be heard. I also get out of breath easy. Has anyone else had this problem after surgery? Surgeon assures me that he didn't damage any nerves during surgery. Can this be fixed?
Related Discussions
Member Comments (16)
by selmaS, Oct 26, 2008
Just wanted to say Hi, and this is something I personally never heard of. I am sure one of the many well informed will answer ur post.

Good luck
by utahmomma, Oct 26, 2008
One of my sisters had exactly the same problem.  Really bad thing was she taught Jr. High school science.  :-(  It took about a year but her voice came back good as new after that time.  The surgeon and doctors had no idea why it happened but it seemed the nerve was temporarily paralyzed.

I'll send a note to Choirgirl - she had similar problems and teaches singing.  :-/  I'll ask her to pop in.

Get well.

by choirgirl, Oct 27, 2008
Hi!  I teach voice and sing professionally.  I went through a TT last December 2007 and really expected to take a long recovery.  I felt raspy every time I tried to sing and felt like a vise was gripping my throat.  I realized that the healing process needed to do its job and I needed to let it take the time.  High stress times (like surgery) impact us more than we know.  Worse on the voice wasn't the surgery, but the breathing tube.  If they didn't lubricate the breathing tube and it was a large one, you will find yourself with one heck of a sore throat to tolerate and easing that one takes some time.  You're about 4 months after surgery - I'm about 10 months after surgery.  I saw major progress in the 8 months after surgery when the scar tissue started losing it's red color.  I had my regular voice back soon after that.  I don't know if it is because of where my scar is that I'm doing so well - it was just "above" my thyroid, not below - and the scar is minimal and my parathyroids did well quickly.  However, I really could not sing for several months - but gradually it came back.  I now feel about 100 percent of pre-surgery voice.  Now if I could just have 100 percent of pre-surgery lack of tiredness! :)  Don't give up - go to voice therapy if you need to.  They do voice therapy for patients with vocal nodules, not just for strokes.  The lessons you learn there help you to use your voice more carefully and how to prevent any damage to the vocal chords.  Just take your time easing in to different ranges - a little at a time each day and you'll seen improvement.

Stay in touch and let me know how you do, okay
by redheadaussie, Oct 27, 2008
Often the vocal cords are scraped against or bruised in the intubation. This tube provides you with lung function as technically in surgery you are in an induced coma and cannot breath for yourself.
  Also having the thyroid out changes the whole structure of the neck and the muscles.
I know I had a sexy voice for a while after my partial thyroidectomy in May 07, then again in Dec 07 when the rest was taken out. I still can not hit the high notes in songs like I used to..but am learning to adjust my neck muscles as I sing. The thyroid would have provided the push as well on the vocal cords as you sing. This goes for speaking as well.
  It does take time, longer for some than others. I still find that sometimes when I speak a certain way, like in a sarcastic tone my voice is Minnie Mouse..quite amusing!
  If it really bothers you and you need it to be fixed you could go to the doctor to get them to put a camera down your throat to have a look and see if the cords are damaged. It is not a pleasant thing though...they do it while you are awake (with a mild sedative)
Hope that helps.
by AngieB1, Oct 27, 2008
Thank you everyone! My endo suggested sending me to an ENT. I was told by friends I should start a 900 number with this new sexy voice. LOL
It doesn't really bother me except when I'm outside or in a noisy place nobody can hear me talk. I guess I'll go see an ENT and see what they say. If it will come back by itself with time, I'll gladly wait. I'll keep you posted.
by 898, Oct 27, 2008
It can be sign of connective tissue formed between the voice box and the skin. reading aloud about 10 minutes per day should help to break this tissue and can speedup voice recovery
by joielaine, Oct 27, 2008
I haven't had mine removed yet and I'm having problems with my throat. It's always swollen and it hurts like crazy it also makes my beautiful voice raspy and low. It hurts to breath and to make matters worse the medicine I take for a spinal cord injury causes me to vomit and that makes it all the worse. I don't know what to do. I need the medicine for my spine but I cant handle a sore throat everyday. I have no clue what to do HELP PLEASE!
by choirgirl, Oct 27, 2008
I have had the "scope" done on my vocal chords 4 times now.  It is quite unpleasant.  However, it's good to check for vocal nodules.  I had a scope done just prior to surgery and the main issue they had was the fact that "reflux" causes the vocal chords to become more swollen and grey.  If you are vomiting, that is definitely causing acid on your vocal chords.  I think this is an area where if you need the medication for a more serous issue, you may not have the luxury of worrying about your voice.  But, if they have something you can take to not vomit, it will definitely help your vocal chords.  I hope all goes well!

by AngieB1, Oct 30, 2008
Went to the ENT Wednesday. They ran the tube up my nose and down my throat and had a look.  I have vocal fold paralysis on the right side. He said that it was just " really p***ed off." His words exactly. It is causing a large gap causing the voice problems, breathlessness, poor cough ability, and choking when swallowing. He is worried about fluid in the lungs and pneumonia so in 2 weeks he is going to do a lipoinjection into the vocal cords. It's a temporary fix but hopefully by the time it reabsorbs the paralysis will be gone.