I am having cervical disc removal and fusion on my C4-5 and C5-6 level because of severe disc herniation in the next month or so. It is causing very severe compression to my spinal cord. I just had my appt. with my Neurosurgeon this past week, and while he was explaining the risks of surgery, one of them was possible injury or damage to the vocal cords. They work so closely to them, especially going in anteriorly (through the front of the neck) to get to the cervical spine. I don't know if they actually move them aside or what (yuk), but he asked me if I was a singer, and said if I am there is a chance my voice would be raspier or hoarser after surgery--possibly permanantly, and I may not be able to hit the high notes. I am not a singer, so I don't have to worry about that. If I were you, I would absolutely go see an ENT doctor, especially considering you have to talk all day long, being a teacher, and because you sing.
I am very nervous about the upcoming surgery. I googled: video of anterior cervical spine surgery, and they show a 57 min. live surgery of part of what I am having done, and what you had done. I probably shouldn't have watched it. They did talk about the vocal cords at one point, so you might want to watch it. I am very curious to know if you by any chance had migraine headaches and/orsinus pressure from your neck problem before surgery. I've always had a history of some headaches (I'm a very active, fit 53 year old female), and have osteoarthritis in my back and neck, but ever since a neck injury 16 months ago, I've been getting chronic migraines that I'm on medication for, and everyone is hoping the surgery will get rid of the headaches. That is why I'm curious if you had compression on your spinal cord with your problem and migraine headaches and arm pain. Good Luck to you with your voice. I hope an ENT doctor can help you, and the video.
Thanks for your comment. I'll set up an appointment with an ENT. My surgery went very well. The first week after surgery was a little difficult but after that my recovery has been great except for the voice. I am also 53 years old and very active. I had severe pain in my left arm and shoulder and bad headaches. After surgery the pain was gone!!!! My neck injury happened in April of 2007 and I had surgery in July of 08. Good Luck you are in my prayers.
Hi, I was just wondering if you made an appt. with an ENT doctor: In the meantime, this may be helpful: Google: Video of Anterior cervical spine surgery. When you get to that page, go down to the 5th heading and click on Anterior Cervical Decompression (Disectomy) if I'm remembering this correctly. After you click on that, read down that first page and you will get to a list of 8 risks of surgery, and right under that you will see a paragraph that explains about possible TEMPORARY damage to a vocal cord nerve that could last for MONTHS after surgery, and cause hoarseness due to the nerve being clamped or retracted during surgery. I guess I am in for this too, but my doctor did warn me about this possibly happening. My guess is that because you are a teacher you haven't been able to rest your voice, and an ENT may tell you to take a leave of absence. Maybe not, but how else will you heal that. You absolutely should go to an ENT doctor to get advice. Back in 1973 I developed small pea sized polyps on my vocal cords when I was in high school because I went to every single game and cheered and screamed and yelled and was involved in everything, and never gave my voice a rest. My voice was sooooo hoarse all the time that it tired me out to talk and I had to strain my voice to talk. I finally HAD to have surgery to remove the polyps(they went in through my mouth and down my throat-so no outside incision) I didn't have a voice for a couple weeks, and when it came back it was really raspy for awhile. Anyway, my Neurosurgeon is sending me to an ENT anytime now-I'm waiting to get the appt., to make sure there is no scar tissue from that surgery that will interfere with my upcoming surgery. If there is, atleast he will know where to avoid making the incision. If you keep talking and forcing your voice you may develop polyps on your vocal cords, and that will just cause you another surgery down the road. I know someone who had to stop teaching because of her hoarse voice because she refused to go to an ENT doctor, and sure enough she finally ended up with polyps and surgery. She was using a microphone while teaching. I'm only telling you all this because most likely it's way too soon for you to have developed polyps, and I would hate for you not to have proper guidance by a doctor. I bet you just need to rest your voice. Too bad it's not summer right now, because I'm assuming you are off in the summer. Good Luck! I could be way off on all this, but I hope I shed some light on your problem.
Thanks, Yes, I did make an appointment and will see him the first part of March. I did know that this could happen before I had surgery. I guess I just didn't want to accept the fact that I might not ever sing again. I would do it all over again, I am nearly pain free and the quality of life has been much better. Hope your surgery goes well. Your are in my prayers.
I saw the EMT about my throat, he said that I need voice therapy. I have no polyps, I have chronic laryngitis and need to retrain my vocal cords. I have set up an appointment and will begin therapy soon. Thanks for your input, hope your surgery goes well.