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Mediastinoscopy...Voice Issues post proceedure


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I was looking for a diagnostic forum category but didn't see one.  


Looking for information on WHY vocal cord issues happen.  Has any one had a doctor or ENT explain this cause?

To me, the procedure should not be near my vocal cords so what is the cause?  I am well aware, that I was intubated, traditional ET tube (not LMA or etc).  Being a paramedic who intubates patients, I know if they pull the tube without deflating the cuff or put in a tube too large with an over inflated cuff, that can cause damage to the vocal cords.  

To note: I've been giving it time to see if that heals all.  I have not seen my surgeon to inquire yet.  I will be seeing him soon as we head toward the VAT surgery to remove the LRL. 

I've been trying to search and read but post all in with other things so I haven't found these answer or much on the topic. 

I did NOT have radiation.


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I wish I could answer your question.  In my (recent) case I was told beforehand that because I had to lay on my stomach for my surgery (removal of a 20mm kidney stone through my back) that I would have additional irritation from the intubation.  But, I didn't expect it to be this harsh.  My voice is still like a young man going through puberty...a bit weak, then strong, cracks, etc.  I've been trying honey to soothe it and cough drops to keep it moist and hope it improves soon.  Although I'm retired, I'm also a musician who still writes, plays and records my own work and supports other musicians.  So, you could see that getting my voice back isn't just about comfort.  I'm just taking it really easy for now and hoping I won't wind up sounding like Joe Cocker when it finally heals.

I know this didn't answer your question, but I can only tell you what I went through.


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Loss of my voice is what led to my eventual LC diagnosis (2 mis-diagnoses first). My left vocal cord was permanently paralyzed by the tumor in my left lung. I had to get a bulk Teflon injection into the paralyzed vocal cord before starting chemo and radiation. I have some sort of voice now and may have to repeat the procedure if my voice goes away again. My ENT says the injection lasts about 12-18 months, and I'm at about 18 months now. 

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I had a epiglottis problem after a long intubation. That structure is close to the vocal cords and I too found "treatment" was not a physician's deal but a speech pathologist!

In my case, I was aspirating fluids into my one lung and developed aspirational pneumonia. I had to perform a lot of "guttural" speech exercises over the course of about 3 weeks to finally get it to seal properly.

Very sorry you are having this complication and I do hope it leaves pronto.

Stay the course.


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Voice problems are not inevitable after mediastinoscopy. I didn’t have that problem at all.

I’m sorry to hear you’re dealing with this. I suspect Tom is right and it has to do with the intubation rather than the procedure itself. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Update: I went to my chiropractor because of my lower back pain returning.  He used the ultrasound on my "neck".  My voice is coming back!  So anyone else reading this and having his issue, if you can find someone to try ultrasound, it's worth it.  My kids will be so sad my voice is coming back.  LOL. 

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  • 1 month later...

Correction and Update...

My chiropractor used Low Level Light Therapy, it was NOT ultrasound, which returned my voice.

LRL Surgery Aug. 25th.  *HOPEFULLY* that will be the end of this nastiness.  Until then......

Stay safe and well everyone!


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  • 3 weeks later...


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