What causes partial loss of voice after cervical spine surgery?

Posted on Wed, 10 May 2017 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: My husband had disc surgery replacing the 3,4 4,5 5,6 and 6,7 Neck discs. They did this through the Neck and moved his esophagus in order to get to the discs. He now has some numbness in his mid tongue but his voice and speech messed up. Especially his S sounds. He was put under and clearly some trauma occurred to his vocal cords but the slurred speech worrying us. Any thoughts?
Answered by Dr. Erion Spaho 4 hours later
Brief Answer:
Vocal cords to be examined.

Detailed Answer:
Hello and thanks for using HCM.

I have read your question and understand your concerns.

1- Voice issues, such partial loss, after anterior cervical spine surgery are mainly caused by strained vocal cords and/or contused recurrent laryngeal nerve ( that supplies the vocal cords ).

In such cases,improvement of voice takes some weeks.

2- In rare cases, due to anatomical variations of this nerve, it is damaged more severely (severe contusion, cutting etc.) causing this way vocal cords paralysis in one side.

In such cases, only partial recovery is expected sand it takes more time (months).

In my opinion, first possibility is most probable in your husband's case, since there is no complete voice loss, however, an ENT Doctor evaluation of vocal cords, in order to understand better your husband's condition.

Tongue numbness usually is not related to spine surgery, it may be related to intubation, etc.

Hope you found the answer helpful.

Kind regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
Answered by
Dr. Erion Spaho

Neurologist, Surgical

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3792 Questions


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