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paralyzed vocal cord

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am almost 9 weeks post op.(ACDF C6-7 with plating) I have posted here before about my speech being affected since surgery. I finally went to an ear, nose, and throat doctor and have been told one of my vocal cords is paralyzed but that it should be back to normal within the next couple of months. I am just wondering if anyone else has had this problem. I tend to cough and choke and speak in a very high pitched soft voice. Otherwise I have had good relief of the pain and numbness that I had pre-op and am back to work, etc. without a problem.


  • I too had the same hoarseness difficulty swallowing and choking on liquids. It was really frustrating because communicating was very difficult. I was sent to a ENT about 5 weeks post up with a partially paralyzed vocal cord. They said it would come back and had something to do with a ligament in the neck that is moved during the surgery. They also said my voice would come back and it did. The funny part of this story is that I ruptured a disc in my neck after a severe coughing fit when I had a cold. About 8 weeks after my ACDF I choked on some iced tea that caused another severe coughing spell. Later that night I noticed a significant improvement in my voice . I didn't feel like I had to strain anymore. Anyway,the Dr said it was because the ligament was kinked and I was able to stretch it out,thus giving my voice back.I feel your frustrations.That was the hardest part of the recovery for me.
    Good luck, Bethy
  • I am little over 10 weeks postop ACDF C5-6, 6-7 with plating. I am experiencing throat hoarsness, difficulty with projecting voice volume, some choking/coughing. I am to be scheduled for ENT consultation. I am told only 2 other patients as well as myself my neurosurgeon has treated having vocal cord nerve in the center of the disc and not to the side. It is frustrating talking to people and especially on the telephone. Has anyone heard of the vocal cord being in the center and has anyone had permanent damage to the vocal cord or nerve?
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  • I have had perminant paralysis from heart surgery 15 years ago and talk fine. I can't yell like I use to and sometimes wake up at night from aspirating. There are 2 different types of damage that can happen to the cord - it can be 'overstretched' like mine or the actual nerve to it can be damaged or severed.

    What they didn't tell me after surgery is to take care of your voice!! I didn't and they told me later after the fact what was wrong. Don't overtalk or overstress it as this will cause it to heal a lot longer. The cord is like a muscle and it will take time to heal. Learn what it takes to control your voice by either talking softer or raising or lowering the pitch of your voice and controlling the muscles in your neck. I found out that when mine was worse than it was now and I got upset, my throat would tense up and I wouldn't be able to talk at all or could barely sound out words, so I would have to calm down and relax before I could talk.

    If it is truely permanently paralized, then there isn't much they can do and you will have to adjust the way you talk. My ENT Dr. is surprised at how well I can talk for my vocal cord being as paralized as it is. At least going to a ENT Dr. is a start and they can help you in what you need to do.

    On the down side I do have a friend who had neck surgery on a disc and they did damage the vocal cord nerve permanently and she talks raspy now but it's not too bad.

    Good luck and email me if you have any questions.

  • Thanks for the reply. I guess I will have to wait to see what the ENT says. My voice is still raspy and low volume and hoping will get better over time. I work as an RN talking to patients on the telephone 9 hours a day so I am anxious of a shorter recovery outcome. My neurosurgeon did mention they can inject a silicone gel to help the vocal cord come closer together to help with the sound. Take care.
  • I have a paralyzed vocal cord as a result of the removal of a brain tumor. I went ahead and had in implant to move the cord over. This was 2 weeks ago and my voice is almost back to normal. I think it will be back to normal after another week. My job involves me being on the phone all day. My voice does well for about 6 of the hours. The last two are pushing it. There are options out there if you have a paralyzed vocal cord. It was outpatient surgery that lasted about an hour. I was back to work in three days.
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  • Damn im scared....
  • I only had a mildly sore throat after my C5/6 surgery - no voice problems at all. With my recent C6/7 ACDF however I "lost" my voice for a little over 3 weeks. Soreness was again mild, and lasted about a week. My husband thought the "squeaky" voice was cute - yeah! :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I have had a paralyzed left vocal chord for 18 years now. Mine was trauma induced from a motorcyle accident.
    It took me a while to talk loudly. But I do alright now. In recent years, my voice has become more raspy.

    The biggest frustration for me is my airflow. I inhale much lower volume than a normal healthy 40yo. It makes it frustrating and often embarasing (due to the loud stridor) to participate in vigerous exercise.

    I can no longer run long distance and have difficulty biking.

    I too choke easily and wake from aspiration often.

    The way I look at it is... at least I am able to enjoy life and nobody has to worry about listening to me sing! Nor will I catch anybody in a foot race, bike race, or any other sort of race.

    best of luck to all in their recovery.
  • 2248Jack22248Jack Posts: 11
    edited 03/02/2014 - 8:29 AM
    I had AFDC on Nov. 8th, 2013. Everything went great except my voice was how hoarse, like with Laryngitis. My Neuro sent me to a ENT. He put a hose up my nose and down my throat. I saw my vocal cords. The left one wasn't moving. He scheduled me for the operating room to inject the cord with a Botox like gell. It makes the cord swell so the right one can meet it easier. Nothing permanent. Lasts 1-3 months while cord heals. Voice is better. Still weak and raspy but a little more indurance. If it goes away he can inject again. Temporary fix hoping my voice heals. After about a year he can give mea permanent injection. Only problem you want to be sure the voice is not coming back omits own or it could over correct and I could end up sounding like a cartoon! I'll take raspy over Minnie Mouse!
    They say this happens with acdf around c7. I had acdf 3-7.
    Good luck everyone
    P.s. I also have airflow problems and do get more winded with activity. Vocal cords have a lot to do with breathing. Who would have thought!
  • The longer a surgeon is in there and mucking things up the more likely he will do damage. Plates and screws are a recipe for disaster.

    I would never allow a surgeon to put a metal screws and plates in my necks.
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