My right Laryngeal Nerve was damaged during Carotid Artery surgery on 10/07/2011 causing my right vocal chord to become paralized and greatly affecting the quality of my voice. The doctor who performed the surgery all but admitted he was responsible and sent me to an ENT who told me to wait several months and my voice might get better. Well it's been 8 months and my voice is still the same. Can you suggest what my options might be, if any? I'm getting desperate.
Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP replies...
Most Ear, Nose, and Throat physicians would agree that a one year waiting period is appropriate in cases where recovery of a vocal cord paralysis is possible or even anticipated before pursuing any permanent surgical options for voice improvement. However, there are temporary options for voice and/ or swallowing improvement available. One such option is the injection of a filler material (e.g., Radiesse Voice Gel) into the paralyzed cord to bring it closer to midline, thereby improving the quality and strength of the voice. This type of procedure can be done in either the operating room, or awake in an office setting, depending on the experience of the physician. It is a well-tolerated procedure, and most patients will experience a good deal of improvement. I see that you live in South Carolina... there is an excellent voice center at MUSC, the Evelyn Trammell Institute for Voice and Swallowing. Consult with a laryngologist (an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician) who specializes in the treatment of voice disorders for further evaluation and more information about possible treatment.
Best of luck to you.