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Excision of Vocal Cord Polyps


What do I need to know about this surgery?

This surgery is done to remove one or more polyps on your vocal cords.

How do I prepare for this surgery?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. He may ask you to stop taking blood thinners before surgery. If you smoke, your healthcare provider will recommend that you quit smoking. You may be given an antibiotic through your IV to help prevent a bacterial infection.

What will happen during this surgery?

You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given local anesthesia to numb the surgery area. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel any pain. You may sit in an exam chair or lie down with your neck flexed backward. Your surgeon will insert a scope that will allow him to see your vocal cords clearly. He will then use tools such as forceps or scissors to remove one or more polyps.

What will happen after this surgery?

You will need to have strict voice rest for about up to 2 weeks. Voice rest includes talking, whispering, whistling, straining, coughing, and sneezing. You will need to communicate using another method such as a chalkboard or pad and pencil. After the period of strict voice rest, you may need to continue to limit the use of your voice. You will slowly increase the use of your voice over time. If you smoke, you should quit smoking or at least not smoke while you heal.

What are the risks of this surgery?

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Your teeth may be injured when the tools are placed through your mouth to reach your vocal cords. The joint between your temporal bone and your mandible (jawbone) or the nerve on the side of your tongue may be injured. Injury to this nerve can cause temporary tongue numbness or change in the sensation of taste. Even with surgery, your voice may not improve, or it could get worse.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.