I had a cervical fusion two years ago and the surgeon went through the front of my neck to do the fusion. Ever since then I have not been able to sing like I used to be able to. I have lost nearly an octive in the upper range of my singing voice and even speaking loudly can be very difficult for me most times. I later found out that during this type of surgery, the surgeon has to move the vocal chords out of the way to get to the neck to do the fusion but I thought after time my singing voice would come back. I really miss singing while I play my guitar or piano, and have pretty much given up on any hope of ever regaining my range back. I have even tried exercises to see if I can expand my vocal/singing range, but to not avail
Any advice or help would be MOST appreciated.
Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP replies...
Unfortunately, it is a potential complication of this type of surgery to experience injury to the recurrent or superior laryngeal nerves. If the recurrent laryngeal nerve in injured, one may experience a vocal fold paralysis. Vocal symptoms of a unilateral vocal fold paralysis include weak, breathy voice with an inability to project. Superior laryngeal nerve injury most often results in impaired pitch range and variability. The only way to determine the reason for your particular vocal difficulties and possible treatments is to be evaluated by an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician.
Swallowing difficulties may also be a presenting symptom of both types of injury; this should also be discussed with your ENT.