Microscopic Voice Surgery
What is Microscopic Voice Surgery?
Microscopic voice surgery, otherwise known as microlaryngeal surgery, is a minimally invasive procedure used to correct the following:
- Voice disorders
- Speaking or breathing difficulties
- Other problems affecting the larynx
The larynx is located in the front of the neck and helps us breathe, swallow, speak and controls the opening and closing of the windpipe. The larynx is also where the vocal cords are found.
Who is a good Candidate for Microscopic Voice Surgery?
If you suffer from persistent cough, hoarseness or various voice problems, diagnostic testing can conclude if Microscopic voice surgery is right for you.
This procedure is commonly used to treat the following conditions:
- Benign tumors
Microscopic voice surgery removes these abnormal growths on the larynx. These are typically noncancerous growths that may develop in the area of the vocal folds as a result of persistent irritation or trauma. They can have a wide variety of causes, including vocal overuse, coughing, acid reflux and more.
How does Microscopic Voice Surgery Work?
Microscopic voice surgery is performed with a laryngoscope. This is a cylindrical tubing device that is placed in the patient’s mouth and directed to the vocal cords. An operating microscope is used to greatly magnify the vocal folds, allowing the doctor to visually examine the area while operating on it. Tiny instruments are inserted through the laryngoscope and used to perform the procedure, and no incisions are needed. Because of this, the majority of microscopic voice surgery procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and do not require hospital stay. Patients also benefit from a faster recovery and superior voice quality as compared to traditional laryngeal surgery.
Microscopic Voice Surgery Procedure
General anesthesia is required when a patient is undergoing microscopic voice surgery. Once it has taken effect, the laryngoscope is properly placed in the patient’s mouth and navigated into the throat. Next, the surgical tools are inserted through the laryngoscope and directed into the larynx to reach the vocal folds. Making use of the instrument’s high magnification capabilities, the surgeon approaches the treatment area with precision and care.
Once the lesion that has formed on the surface of the vocal fold is reached, it will be cut away and completely removed with the surgical cutting tools. This technique allows for incredible accuracy in order to ensure that only the damaged tissue is removed and the surrounding area remains unaffected. By leaving the majority of the laryngeal structure intact and completely unharmed, microscopic voice surgery is a minimally invasive technique that offers a rapid healing process.
Recovery from Microscopic Voice Surgery
Following the procedure, you will be monitored for several hours then released to return home the same day. Most patients experience some level of discomfort after the surgery, but it will often respond well to over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If your pain is more significant, a stronger form of medication can be prescribed for short-term use. Cough medicine may be recommended as well to ensure that you do not irritate the sensitive tissue of the larynx as it recovers.
Speaking may be difficult for the first few days after microscopic voice surgery as the vocal folds are swollen and undergoing the healing process. It is best to rest your voice as much as possible in the initial weeks after surgery. Your doctor will provide detailed instructions on voice use limitations following microscopic voice surgery. After a follow-up appointment with your surgeon several weeks post-surgery, you will likely be cleared to resume your normal vocal activities.
Risks of Microscopic Voice Surgery
While microscopic voice surgery is considered a safe procedure, all forms of surgery do carry some risk. Although rare, the complications that are associated with microscopic voice surgery include a reaction to anesthesia, dental damage, temporary numbness of the tongue, bleeding, infection and less than optimal results. Choosing a physician with extensive experience in microscopic voice surgery can help lower the risk of encountering any difficulties.