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Risks & Recovery


Recovery most procedures is usually quick, with little in the way of pain. You are usually able to return home the same day or after an overnight stay in hospital. You must ensure a responsible adult is available to supervise you for 24 hours post surgery. A period of absolute voice rest may be required after endoscopic surgery. Follow up appointments will be required to assess the success of the procedure.

Complications are fortunately rare but every surgical procedure has risks. The surgeon will not be able to tell you about every single risk, but you require enough information about the common and significant problems to weigh up the risks and benefits of the procedure.

General risks

  • Risk of anaesthesia - the anaesthesia may in itself cause problems, these include allergy to anaesthetic agents, chest infections and blood clots in the leg related to immobility (DVT).
  • Remote risk of airway obstruction –as the larynx is shared by the surgeon to improve the voice, and the anaesthetist to maintain anaesthesia there is a remote risk of airway obstruction.

Risks specific to endoscopic laryngeal surgery

  • Rigid endoscope may cause injury to the teeth, lips and tongue
  • Abnormal healing of the vocal fold after surgery - voice/breathing may not be improved or rarely can be made worse by surgery.
  • Recurrence of the problem – if surgery is successful but no changes are made to voice use or lifestyle then the problem can recur.

Risks specific to open laryngeal surgery rarely occur. Problems that may be encountered are:

  • Wound problems – wound infection, bleeding and bruising
  • Implant displacement – this can be external leading to failure of the procedure to help the voice or, rarely, internal leading to breathing difficulties.
  • Tracheotomy (or external breathing tube into the neck). In complex cases this may be required and anticipated preoperatively by your surgeon. Rarely tracheotomy is required during the procedure because of airway swelling that is not anticipated.
  • Failure – The result of surgery can be difficult to predict and occasionally the surgeon may over or underestimate corrections. This can lead to no discernable improvement if under corrected; or breathing difficulties if over corrected. These problems can usually be fixed by repeat/revision surgery