Preoperative & Postoperative Vocal Cord Surgery Instructions
 

Eating Before and After Surgery:

Night before surgery: Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
 
Evening after surgery: Plan to eat bland food, as the medication used for anesthesia may cause mild nausea the day of surgery.
 
Day after surgery: You can resume your normal diet.
                          
 

Pain After Surgery:

Expect only a minimal amount of pain after surgery, since the incision is only about the size of a match head. Dr. Beaver will provide pain medication to be used as needed. The pain medication prescribed by Dr. Beaver contains Tylenol. Please be aware before taking additional Tylenol with the pain medication. You may experience mild general body aches (similar to that experienced during the flu) due to the medications given during surgery, which usually lasts no more than 24-48 hours after surgery. You may experience some numbness of the tongue or taste disturbance, due to the instrumentation used to view the vocal folds, which will improve daily.
 

Speaking, Singing, Coughing, Throat Clearing, Laughing, Sneezing After Surgery:

After surgery, it is important to keep the vocal folds apart to allow them to heal. Total voice rest from speaking, singing, coughing, throat clearing, laughing, and sneezing will be crucial for the first 3 days. To prevent abusive coughing and throat clearing, use an “open cough” (inhale, make a strong silent “h” sound) to clear the mucous from the vocal folds, or an unvoiced “uh-uh-uh”. To prevent voiced sneezing, press the side of your finger just under your nose as you inhale in small “hasps” through your mouth. Use silent laughing and smiling facial expressions to replace voiced laughing.
 

Pre-Surgery:

  1. Medical examination
  2. Consultation with speech pathologist, if needed
     
Before surgery, you may have an appointment with a speech pathologist to develop your personal pre-surgical and post-surgical treatment plan. In certain cases, this treatment plan is a critical component of your healing process.
 

Post-Surgery: 

Days 1 - 3:
·         Absolute voice rest (no speaking, singing, coughing, throat clearing, laughing, or sneezing)
 
Day 4 - Week 2:
·         Begin restricted vocal use with easy onsets and supplemental voice exercises.
·         Gradually increase amount of daily speaking.
 
Weeks 3 - 4:
·         Continue gradually increasing the amount of daily speaking, using easy onsets.
·         Singers: Begin daily vocal eases; no singing.
 
Weeks 5 - 6:
·         Begin speaking normally, with good breath support and easy onsets.
·         Singers: Increase vocal exercises and guided singing; move toward full singing voice.
 
Schedule Follow-Up Office Visits with Dr. Beaver: 1 week, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months.
 

Herbal Supplements to Avoid Prior to Vocal Cord Surgery:

 
HERBAL
SUPPLEMENT
POSSIBLE
INTERACTIONS/COMPLICATIONS
Aloe
May lower potassium level if eaten.
Bilberry
May cause bleeding.
Cayenne
May cause bleeding.
Danshen
May cause bleeding.
Dong guai
May cause bleeding.
Echinacea
Can affect liver during general anesthesia and can be harmful to immunosuppressed patients. It may interfere with healing and should be stopped several months before surgery.
Ephedra
May cause abnormal heartbeat; may cause extreme high blood pressure and coma if combined with certain antidepressants and anesthesia.
Feverfew
May cause bleeding.
Garlic
May cause bleeding. You should stop taking at least a week before surgery.
Ginger
May cause bleeding.
Ginkgo
May cause bleeding. You should stop taking about 2 days before surgery.
Ginseng
May slow blood clotting; may cause low blood sugar levels in fasting patients; may cause rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure. You should stop taking about 2 days before surgery.
Goldenseal
May cause or worsen high blood pressure.
Kava
Increases the effects of anesthesia and may slow the recovery. You should stop taking at least 24-3 6 hours before surgery.
Licorice (not including licorice candy)
May increase blood pressure. May interact with Demerol.
Melatonin
Decreases the amount of anesthesia needed.
PC-SPES
Has an estrogenic effect that may increase the risk of blood clots in the legs.
Senna
May cause electrolyte imbalance.
St. John’s Wort
May increase or decrease the effects of some drugs used during and after surgery. May interact with Demerol. You should stop taking about 5-7 days before surgery.
Valerian
Increases the effects of anesthesia and may slow the recovery. Do not stop suddenly, but gradually taper off for several weeks.
Yohimbe (natural Viagra)
May interact with Demerol