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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Voice still hoarse after surgery

10/30/2000

Question:

I have had "loss of voice" and hoarseness for nearly 1 year. Finally had the surgery (Micro Laryngoscopy Direct) 3 weeks ago to remove a vocal cord nodule. The nodule is benign.

I recently started talking after 2 weeks following the surgery(as advised by the ENT). My voice ,however is same as before ( i.e., hoarseness is still there, sound is not always clear and I need to put an effort to talk). In addition, I constantly have that "lump in the throat" feeling ( which I also had on and off in the past ).

I am not getting a satisfactory response from my ENT as to why the hoarseness still persists after the benign nodule has been removed with surgery.

Please respond.

Answer:

The swelling in the vocal cords that develops after having a biopsy can last for up to a month. There is still the possibility that the voice will get stronger over time. Something that I have noticed in my patients with vocal cord nodules is that they often have acid reflux at the same time. I usually recommend that patients be on some medication to decrease the amount of acid produced by the stomach whenever I operate on the vocal cords. The most common symptoms associated with acid reflux are frequent throat clearing, hoarseness, mucus accumulation in the throat (many people often call this post nasal drainage), occasional soreness of the throat and sometimes cough. Some patients complain of bad breath or an acid or sour taste in the mouth. If you have noticed some of these symptoms, you might want to mention to your Ear, Nose and Throat doctor that you think you have acid reflux and let him reevaluate you for this. Good Luck.

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Response by:

Keith M Wilson, MD Keith M Wilson, MD
Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Head and Neck Division
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati