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Swallowing Problems and Paralyzed vocal chord after surgery

Hi all! May 20th had 3 level acdf with hardware. Have relief from arm and neck pain some numbness still left in two fingers. During the surgery however my vocal chord was damaged and I am still having difficult swallowing. Has anyone else had this problem. Was sent to an ENT who confirmed that my left vocal chord is paralyzed and the nerve is partially severed. I cannot swallow solid food and have been on pureed food for over a month. Went to a swallow doctor who did some testing and taught me how to tilt my head to the left and down when chewing and swallowing. I have had two episodes of severe choking where I aspirated. I am taking in protein in protein sugar free shakes as I am a diabetic also. I have lost 22 lbs. and I have lost a lot of hair. Anyone else with anything like this going on I would greatly appreciate hearing from.


  • I'm so sorry you're going through this. I didn't have damaged nerves like that, just the regular sore throat after ACDF surgery and difficulty swallowing but that got better over time. I am 10 weeks post op and still feel like I have a chunk of meat stuck in my throat. But nothing like you describe. I'm glad you went to specialist. Hopefully he can give you better answers and more advice. I hope this heals quickly for you.
  • Hi Hut4kids,
    I had the same surgery as you May 18th from C4-C7. It is now about 10 months since the surgery and my right vocal cord is still completely paralyzed in the mid-line position. I have trouble swallowing and sleeping because it is harder to breathe. My ENT has not been able to confirm if my surgery had anything to do with it, let alone if the nerve was severed. (Although my voice was perfect up until the surgery, so I'm 100% sure it was that.) I'm curious how they could see that the nerve was cut? It has been a while since you posted this, have you had any improvement? I heard the nerve can sometimes spontaneously come back up unto a year later. I hope you are doing well.
  • RacinredRRacinred United StatesPosts: 48

    Just reading thru recovery buddies and saw this, How are you now???? 
     I had anterior C1-C7 fusion on 3-16-16. Horrible day, had to be stuck 14 times for an IV. When they got me in the OR, they had a horrible time which lead to a Traumatic Intubation. I was nasally intubated due to the anterior approach for surgery. I was on the Vent for a day and 1/2 HORRIBLE. I feel a huge  lump in my throat 24?/7. I am reading this is normal. I sound like a man, also this too is normal from what i am reading. I have chosen to stick to soft things and take it easy. The studies i hve read show it takes a good month to month and 1/2 for swallowing to get better AND THIS IS WITHOUT ANY VOCAL CORD DAMAGE. I just waned to give you an overview of what i a going thru which is NOTHING COMPARED TO WHAT YOUR GONG THRU. Let me know how your doing and what the docs are doing to help you with this. Hoping for a good report here to listen 

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