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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    total thyroidectomy how long before my voice comes back

    Hi I recently had a total thyroidectomy and now my voice is horse and find I cannot reach high notes I was told it would come back but it has been 3 weeks since is this normal and how long before I get my voice back. I was also told after they were checked that my voice glands are working yet I am still having a husky and croaky voice. thank you for your answer
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 15

    Thanks

    Nikki Martin

    Speech Pathologist

    I have over 13 years experience in adult Speech Pathology and specialise in voice and swallowing problems/cancers of the face and throat. I work very ... View Profile

    It is very common after thyroid surgery, to have issues with your voice and or swallowing, as the nerves that supply the voice box/swallow function lie very close to the thyroid gland. There are partial nerve weaknesses of the vocal cords, called a paresis, that cannot be detected unless they are seen under stroboscopy. Stroboscopy is a light source that flashes at the same rate that the vocal cords vibrate, and this technology can pick up minor issues that cannot be seen by the naked himan eye.  Everyone after thyoid surgery is different. Some people have no issues with their voice. Others do have an issue immediately after the surgery, but it resolves quite quickly. Others take much longer. Early intervention is the key to returning to as close to normal voice as possible. Voice therapy by a Speech Pathologist is probably on the cards for you, but you should be seen by an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor who has a stroboscopy system (not all do have one) to get a diagnosis. Please contact me if you need any further information.

    Nikki Martin
    Speech Pathologist

  • 13

    Thanks

    Dr. Matthew Broadhurst

    Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon

    Dr Matt Broadhurst is a fellowship trained laryngeal surgeon specialising in laryngeal surgery and voice restoration. He returned to Brisbane from Boston, Massachusetts in 2007 ... View Profile

    Being a laryngeal & voice reconstruction surgeon, I see patients whose voice can change following thyroid surgery.  This usually resolves as it is from temporary bruising of the nerve(s) to the vocal cord(s). Somtimes it can be permanent and benefits from very specific reconstructive surgery with many of the extremely effective newer techniques offered by fellowship-trained laryngeal surgeons.  The most important area to consider is when the voice is very hoarse while waiting to see if the nerve will recover. During this period, a bruising nerve can benefit from a temporary injection in the office setting of a disolvable gel to enable much more normal voice.  This way, people can return to work or their social setting with a near normal voice.

  • 22

    Thanks

    Dr Nicolas Oddone Baridon MBBS, MS, MD, FRACS is an accomplished and passionate General Surgeon whose main interest is thyroid surgery (endocrine surgeon). He has ... View Profile

    Hoarse voice should be investigated after surgery after 2 weeks. It is however true that it can take up to 6 months or more and patients can have a completely normal voice after this time period.
    I do not specialise in laryngeal problems, but as an endocrine surgeon (thyoid surgeon) I see patients with nerve problems from time to time. For peace of mind, most of them resolve without further treatment.

  • 7

    Thanks

    Juliet Pereira

    Healthshare Member

    Hi

    It is now nearly 2 months and my voice is not back at all. If at all I feel I am going backwards instead of forward. I cannot raise my voice resulting in my job possibilities.  I am very nervous now.

    I also feel a sudden pain in my neck when I turn my neck. Is this normal?? I did not have this problem before.

     

  • 3

    Thanks

    healthshare user_33

    Healthshare Member

    I had surgery march 16, 2017, been hoarse every since,  sometimes if I talk to long,  it feels force and gives me a headaches

  • 6

    Thanks

    Nikki Martin

    Speech Pathologist

    I have over 13 years experience in adult Speech Pathology and specialise in voice and swallowing problems/cancers of the face and throat. I work very ... View Profile

    You should go back to your surgeon about the neck pain. Your voice should have improved by now. As it hasn't and you feel you're going backwards, you need to see a Laryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon who specialises in voice issues). You may have a nerve weakness in one of your vocal cords. You will likely need to see a Speech Pathologist for voice therapy at some point too.

    Nikki Martin

    Speech Pathologist

    (Clinical Specialist in Voice, Speech and Swallowing Disorders)

  • 2

    Thanks

    Juliet Pereira

    Healthshare Member

    Thank Nikki.

    I will visit the ENT specialist whom my GP has organised. My surgeon did say he would organise a Speech Therapist. I will go back to him and mention to him about my sudden neck pain.

    Thanks for your advice.

    Regareds

    Juliet

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