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Post thyroidectomy voice
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Post thyroidectomy voice

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?
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18 Comments Post a Comment
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620923_tn?1416285879
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
Godspeed
"selma"
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158939_tn?1274918797
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.

Utah
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368844_tn?1262322947
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
Choirgirl
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219241_tn?1413541365
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.
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Avatar_f_tn
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.
AngieB1
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Avatar_m_tn
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
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Avatar_n_tn
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!
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368844_tn?1262322947
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!

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Avatar_f_tn
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.
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427555_tn?1267556758
I had vocal cord paralysis after TT and lost my voice for 6 weeks.  It returned to normal,but now I do get laryngeal spasms. I don't know if it is from the TT or the fact that I have low calcium and get muscle spasms.  My surgeon was going to do a botox injection, but my voice returned before that was necessary.  
Trish
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Avatar_f_tn
Do u think getting lapband after  thyroid surgery would be to soon and is it healthy.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am 3 wks post op from a total thyroidectomy, i don't have my voice back yet, somedays its better than others but still raspy and i become short of breath with lengthy conversations and with excertion. i feel like i have something stuck in my throat...could that be the scar tissue that some have spoke of? anybody out there have any idea?
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Avatar_f_tn
I had a TT on 12-29-2011, I lost my voice and after a scope was told my right vocal chord was not moving.  After my RAI treatment 02-15-12, my voice seemed to come back.  I'm still not 100%, but I can speak and people can hear me and I avoided having another surgery.  I have had many issues with breathing, I can't run anymore, between 2-3 minutes I start to hyper-ventilate.  I have been doing 3-5 miles per day walking for exercise.  Hoping that my body is still healing.  Frustrating that I can't even run a mile.  I had many complications with this procedure, but I have decided I think your body just needs more time to heal.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi - I had bilateral thyroidectomy on 9/12/13. After surgery, I could speak, but with a little bit of raspiness. About 10 days later, I lost my voice and barely have a whisper of a voice now. My surgeon is out on medical leave, so I haven't seen him for this yet, but plan to. I think the thing that triggered the complete loss of my voice was my attempt to sing - I failed miserably at it. I couldn't stay on pitch and it sounded like some foreign noise. It was not pretty! Do you think that it could've been that I strained my vocal chords by trying to sing so soon after surgery? It was only a couple of lines of a song a couple of times (was supposed to sing at a funeral & was testing myself).
I really hope my voice returns soon - not having ANY voice is very frustrating!!!
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649848_tn?1357751184
Choirgirl has not been active on the forum since her post in 2008, so it's unlikely you will get a response from her.  

The fact that you tried to sing may have put too much strain on your vocal cords, particularly, since you were having the raspiness, anyway.  

I had 2 surgeries on my vocal cords in 2007 and after each one, I was instructed not to even try to make sound for a week... After the week was up, following each surgery my exercises were producing sounds with a kazoo; that's all I was allowed to do, until my speech therapist decided I could do more.  

I know you didn't have the surgery on your vocal cords, but my advice would be to rest your voice as much as you possibly can, at least until you can talk to your surgeon about this... the more you push your vocal cords, at this point, the more damage you might do.

I had a little dry erase board that I carried and wrote everything I needed to communicate.  It was was different, but I only had to do it for a couple weeks.
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Avatar_m_tn
I had my thyroid removed in February of 2013. My voice is still not back to normal and I can only sing in a small range of octaves. The worst is the breathlessness, however. People who don't know me think I have asthma. I have to catch my breath even if I try to speak a long sentence. My surgeon wants me to have a bronchial scope to see if anything was damaged during surgery or if I have scar tissue.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi!  I had my right thyroid and left parathyroid removed in September.  It was my second failed surgery and over 4 hours.  I came out with almost no voice.  My ENT  did the bronchial scope which wasn't bad and said it appears there is no damage to the vocal cords but my right side appears floppier than the left.  In January they have me going to a speech therapist to see if I can recover.  I also try to talk and become breathless because it takes such effort.  I can't sing or speak like I used to at all.  I sound more like a man.  Good luck.  It's not fun but I try to remember it could be worse.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Great advice.  I'm trying voice therapy in January.  Have been without a voice pretty much since my surgery on 9/11.  Singing is impossible and talking is strained and hurts.  :(  Life offers some interesting challenges doesn't it.  Glad yours came back.  I hope I am like you.
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