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Hemithyroidectomy,vocal chords nerves normal.Voice normal?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
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I had a routine Hemi Thyroidectomy 12 months ago and have a 'normal' speaking voice and a singing voice confined to the speaking voice range. The nerves to my vocal chords are OK. Will my singing voice return on its own or do I have to work on it. I went to a speech therapist without success.
Posted Sat, 21 Apr 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 14 hours later

Thanks for the query.

Any change in the voice following hemithyroidectomy could be secondary to trauma to the nerve (recurrent laryngeal nerve). This is one of the commonest problem encountered post thyroidectomy surgery. Another possibility could be the trauma to the arytenoids or the vocal cords while performing intubation (i.e. while giving anesthesia).

If there is any damage to the nerve during surgery then getting back the voice will take some time, as the normal functioning cord has to compensate for the loss, but the singing will not be as good as before. Secondly, if the nerves are normal then other possibility of change in the quality of voice could be due to damage to the cords or arytenoids. In either of the case, it requires a thorough evaluation.

In your situation if you feel there is a change in the voice or your singing ability is decreased, it would be wise enough to consult a good Phono-surgeon rather than a speech therapist. The doctor will examine your vocal cords first and then advise you to undergo a battery of test to assess the function of the vocal cords. Once the assessment is done, further treatment is given in the form of psychological counseling or voice rehabilitation therapy or surgery in the rarest of the cases.

Hope I have answered your query, if you have any more doubts you are welcome.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Hemithyroidectomy,vocal chords nerves normal.Voice normal? 7 hours later
Generally the feedback on line from people having experienced a similar operations is that the singing voice returns or at least the vocal range within a couple of months (more famously Rod Stuart's voice took nine months) for me it has been twelve months and if my voice has returned then I have a range limitedto that of the speaking voice. When would it be time to consult with a Phono surgeon and should this be through my ENT surgeon.
Thankyou Kindly
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 6 hours later

Thanks for the follow up.

The condition of the vocal cords does vary from person to person and in your case without a proper examination of the vocal cords it is difficult to comment whether you will regain your singing voice or not.

You require a stroboscopic examination to assess the quality of vibrations of the vocal cords. Depending upon those findings your doctor will advise further treatment.

As I had already mentioned in my previous post that, only after a thorough examination the different modalities of treatment could be planned, which ranges from simple counseling to surgical intervention.

It is not late; even now you can consult a good Phonosurgeon at your place. Either your ENT specialist can himself be specialist in Phonosurgery or he may refer you to a Phonosurgeon.

Wish you good health

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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