Vocal Cord Surgery

The larynx or the voice box has 2 mucous membranes stretched horizontally across it, called the vocal cords, which help us to speak. Infections, cancer, upward movement of stomach acids into the throat, and lifestyle factors such as smoking, can damage these vocal cords and lead to many voice disorders. Vocal cord surgery or microlaryngoscopy is used to treat any such abnormality of the vocal cord.

Indications

Microlaryngoscopy is indicated as a diagnostic as well as therapeutic tool to treat vocal cord disorders like hoarseness, laryngeal lesions, and to improve voice quality. This procedure is highly advisable if your doctor suspects extra growths or nodules in the voice box or vocal cord, as the early diagnosis of cancer in this area improves chances of recovery.

Procedure

During vocal cord surgery, you will be put under general anesthesia. Your surgeon will insert a metal telescope into your mouth through the throat to view the larynx. A microscope may also be used along with the telescope to get a better view. Your surgeon may remove a sample of the tissue to analyze it in the lab, and determine the type of growth. A small cut may be made in your vocal cord to remove the lump. The surgery takes approximately half an hour to complete, and you can go home the same day if there are no complications from the surgery.

Post-operation care

Your throat may feel sore and dry for 2 days after the surgery. This can be usually controlled with medication. You will have to rest your voice for a few days until the wound heals; which means you cannot talk, shout or even whisper. It is important to drink plenty of water during this time to keep your throat moist. You may cough or spit a little blood after the procedure, but if this increases and becomes severe, please alert your doctor right away. You will recover completely in about 9 months, but can resume your normal activities in 2 to 3 days, while continuing to rest your voice for the next few days.

Risks and complications

Although vocal cord surgery is a safe procedure, like all surgical procedures, it may be associated with certain risks and complications. Rarely, you may have trouble in breathing, worsening of pain, or a fever. If any of these are noticed, you should contact your surgeon immediately.