Laryngeal Trauma

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Hi Doc. I sustained an injury to my throat on 12/31/2011 when I slipped and fell during a game of broom ball landing with my throat into someones knee.  Immediately I was unable to speak. CT scan taken that night revealed "edema with possibly some hemorrhage of the soft tissues in the left laryngeal vestibule and left ventricaular and vocal folds with some narrowing of the airway. Truncation of the lower aspect of the left pyriform sinus."  I was given antibiotics and steriods until 1/4/12.  I saw an ENT on 1/3/12 he preformed an exam using a flexible fiberopic scope with findings of ecchymosis and edema involving the left true vocal cord, arytenoid,and false vocal fold.  Another flexible fiberopic scope was done on 1/16/12 with "a red stripe down the middle on the left vocal cord."  I have progressed from having a very breathy voice to a soft voice that is low.  I am a physical therapist and I work only two days a week, however on those days even though I try hard to limit my speech it is difficult and some patients are hard of hearing.  I have been told if I do too much talking I will develop scar tissue that will be irreversible.  I definitely would like to heal and avoid surgery.  Is scar tissue the same as a polyp?  I was told by a speech therapist that I should go on complete vocal rest for six weeks.  I have three teenage daughters and life is challenging trying to limit speech, let alone complete vocal rest.  I would appreciate any advice.  Thank you for your time.   

James P Thomas MD's picture
Submitted by James P Thomas MD on Sat, 2012-04-07 13:59

The recurrent laryngeal nerve passes near the thyroid and parathyroid glands. It is all too frequently injured during surgery in this area. When the nerve is injured, the vocal cords cannot close as tightly and symptoms such as choking, running out of breath and loss of vocal range are very typical. A good, close and thorough endoscopic examination should be able to visually identify your problem.