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Voice recovery after ACDF

JimB57JJimB57 Posts: 3
edited 11/03/2014 - 1:55 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am now 4 weeks post op for ACDF at C6/7 this is the third operation but by far the worst recovery.
I am sore and exhausted , I cannot speak without it being a forced whisper like action that becomes gurgle like as the day goes on each conversation is exhausting.
I am panicking
I pretty much talk for a living, I do training programs for engineers and teach large groups, I also coach high level soccer.
My initial injury was in 1980 and result was fusion of C4/5 added C6 in 1996 due to wear and bone spurs...
This time the diagnosis was worse , I was rec. to add C3 and C7 but we chose to only do C7 to try to relieve the pain and numbness ,
Surgeon said it was a mess inside but did not say that this was going to last this long ... I dont know if I should try to force myself to talk or rest the voice and let it "heal" or if I should see my primary care now or wait till the 2 month fusion check.
Looking for advice ...


  • http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/spinal-fusion/potential-risks-and-complications-acdf-surgery

    It may be that your body needs more time to heal, and for the swelling to go down. What I would suggest is that you give your voice as much rest as possible, and use ice or lozengeses to ease some of the discomfort........the more you try to force your voice to work, the more rough it is going to sound, and the swelling may continue as you push .......
    Give your body a chance to rest and heal a bit........things may improve if you do.
  • I am one month post-op ACDF. I still have trouble swallowing and with hoarseness. They have improved some but still have a way to go. If you've watched any videos of the procedure, you will understand the trauma to the vocal cords, esophagus and trachea. They are pulled back for 1-2 hrs. and thus you have the edema. From what I've read, most of the prob. resolve eventually. Hope you notice some improvement soon.
  • I had ACDF surgery on 09/29/2014 and had C6-C7 and C7-T1 fused.
    Normal pain and swallowing after surgery, But my real concern was my voice. In order for me to speak loud enough for anyone to hear me, I had to go into this high pitch Mickey Mouse voice. Everyone said this was normal and just give it time! I understand recovery, But I didn't show much change after 6 weeks. So, my Surgeon says some people just take a while, and not to worry. I don't feel this is normal at all! I have gotten a little low range, but it sounds really creepy when I try to talk in my normal voice and If I need to speak up or over any background noise, I have to revert back to full-on Mickey Mouse voice again.
    After speaking to someone who had the same surgery and the same problem, who waited 8 months with no improvement who then went to ENT and eventually to a specialist in Philadelphia and another surgery and months of vocal rehab to correct, I decided I will be a little more proactive. I have an appointment with an ENT ( Otolarygologist ) tomorrow and I hope to get a scope to see my vocal cords. All research I have done points to partial paralysis to the nerves that work the vocal chords. And from what I hear, The sooner you start to correct this the better!
    Now, if you are reading this because you have voice problems after your surgery, It is important to share your concerns with your Doctor! Every person and recovery will be a little different. However, You should be patient but aware. Try to drink A LOT of water, and try to rest your voice as much as you can for the first couple of weeks. But if you are missing range, high or low, and aren't seeing some improvement week to week, Have your Doctor refer you to a ENT as soon as possible.
    Only you can tell if your improvement just doesn't seem right. Be Proactive!

    I will come back and report what the ENT says for my case!
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