Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thyroid Surgery

I had a partial thyroidechtomy due to a benign sub-sternal goiter about 6 weeks ago. My surgeon made me pay $1500 dollars out of pocket for an "experimental" procedure to monitor my laryngeal nerve during the surgery.

The only discomfort I experienced was from the anesthesia. My speaking voice seems OK or even better than before the surgery, but I absolutely cannot sing in falsetto anymore.

Is this likely to improve over time, or did I waste my $1500?

Thank you so much.

Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP replies...

Nerve monitoring can be very helpful during a surgery and it sounds as though you avoided a vocal fold paralysis, which is the result of recurrent laryngeal nerve (a branch of the 10th cranial nerve, or vagus nerve) damage that can be a complication of thyroid surgery. However, a change in the ability to alter pitch may indicate that the superior laryngeal nerve, another branch of the vagus nerve, may have been affected during the surgery. I would suggest that you return to your surgeon for assessment and treatment recommendations.

Best of luck to you!

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