After any procedure to treat a benign lesion on your vocal cords, NYU Langone doctors and speech pathologists work with you at every stage of recovery, helping to restore your normal voice and teaching you vocal techniques that can help to prevent a recurrence.
Recovery from laser surgery is minimal. You can drive yourself home from the doctor’s office after this procedure and return to work the next day.
In the days immediately following, you should use your voice sparingly and avoid raising it. This allows your vocal cords time to heal. After a few days, you can begin to use your voice gently.
Voice specialists recommend one or two sessions of voice therapy for rehabilitation after laser surgery to gradually rebuild normal function. Voice therapy is adapted to each person’s speech patterns and vocal habits and enables you to incorporate simple vocal exercises into your daily routine. This helps to improve the quality and sound of your voice. A speech pathologist can also teach you how to use your voice in ways that protect the vocal cords and minimize the possibility you’ll develop another lesion.
Most people who have microlaryngoscopy return home on the day of surgery. You may experience minor discomfort in your throat or soreness in your jaw, but pain is rarely severe. Your doctor may recommend a dose of over-the-counter pain relief medication, if necessary.
Complete voice rest is a vital part of a full recovery. After the procedure, you should not speak for three to five days to allow your vocal cords to heal.
To prepare for resting your voice, our specialists recommend that you have ready access to pen and paper; change your voicemail message to let people know you can’t return their calls; and inform your friends and family members about your recovery, so they can be ready to help you.
After your voice has had time to rest, you may slowly begin to use it again. NYU Langone speech pathologists create an individualized timeline for voice rehabilitation that is designed to incrementally restore vocal cord function.
For many people, the voice gradually grows stronger over the following two to three weeks. Your doctor examines your vocal cords during this time to make sure the vocal cords are healing. When this has occurred, your doctor may recommend voice therapy once a week for four to six weeks.
Voice therapy does more than just help you recover from surgery—it teaches you more effective ways to use your voice. A speech pathologist at NYU Langone can help you rebuild your voice in the safest and most effective way using exercises designed to maximize vocal function and sound.
Voice therapy can also teach you behaviors that can help to prevent your vocal cords from becoming irritated again, reducing the possibility of another benign vocal cord lesion developing.
In addition to one-on-one sessions at your speech pathologist’s office, you’ll be asked to do exercises at home to reinforce the voice therapy techniques and to help you develop good vocal habits. In time, these should become such natural habits that you won’t have to think about them.
Our speech pathologists also offer laryngeal massage as part of voice therapy. In this technique, speech pathologists use their hands to apply gentle pressure on various areas of the neck, helping to relax certain muscles that, when contracted, may inhibit normal voice function. Reducing this tension can improve the sound quality of your voice.
At NYU Langone, our specialists understand that recovering from vocal cord surgery takes time and can be emotionally challenging, especially for people who rely on their voices to make a living. Talking through these challenges with a psychotherapist who frequently works with people during voice recovery may reduce stress and anxiety and help to speed your recovery. Your doctor can provide you with additional information about the services offered by these specialists.
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