Many reasons exist for why someone might require vocal cord surgery. Two of the most common reasons are the removal of cysts and polyps. After the surgery, it is important to allow the folds in the vocal cords to heal, so you must follow post-operation instructions to avoid having the folds heal together. If that happens, you will have scar tissue and might require another surgery to correct the problem.
It is normal to have pain following any type of surgery, especially vocal cord surgery. You can expect a sore throat, along with pain and swelling at the incision site. Most doctors prescribe prescription-strength painkillers for the first 24 to 48 hours. After that, you can use ibuprofen or acetaminophen as needed for pain.
It is crucial to avoid any speech or making sounds for at least the first two to four days. This includes sneezing and coughing. You can sneeze and cough, but you need to avoid making any sound while doing so. To sneeze silently, press the side of your finger under your nose as you inhale silent "uh" sounds through your mouth. To prevent sound with coughing, inhale through your mouth with a soft "huh" sound, and then exhale.
Once you resume speaking, use a confidential voice, meaning you would speak at the same level as you would while sharing confidential information with someone. You will also see a speech pathologist to learn how to modulate your voice while easing back into speaking at a normal level. Speech therapy is an essential part of the rehabilitation process and necessary for full recovery from vocal cord surgery.
Immediately after surgery, you will be on a liquid diet for a day or two. After that, you may resume a normal diet, though soft foods are best for the first week. You will be advised to sleep in whatever position is most comfortable for you. The doctor will tell you to watch for bright red bleeding or passing clots.
It is common to run a fever around 100 degrees, but report anything higher, or prolonged, to your doctor. Smokers shouldn't smoke for the first few days, because it will increase pain levels and slow healing time.