Post Operative Instructions

Preoperative & Postoperative Vocal Cord Surgery Instructions

Eating Before and After Surgery:

  • Night before surgery:
    Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • Evening after surgery:
    Plan to eat bland food, as the medication used for anesthesia may cause mild nausea the day of surgery.
  • Day after surgery:
    You can resume your normal diet.

Pain After Surgery:

Expect only a minimal amount of pain after surgery, since the incision is only about the size of a match head. Dr. Anderson will provide pain medication to be used as needed. The pain medication prescribed by Dr. Anderson contains Tylenol. Please be aware before taking additional Tylenol with the pain medication. You may experience mild general body aches (similar to that experienced during the flu) due to the medications given during surgery, which usually lasts no more than 24-48 hours after surgery. You may experience some numbness of the tongue or taste disturbance, due to the instrumentation used to view the vocal folds, which will improve daily.

Speaking, Singing, Coughing, Throat Clearing, Laughing, Sneezing After Surgery:

After surgery, it is important to keep the vocal folds apart to allow them to heal. Total voice rest from speaking, singing, coughing, throat clearing, laughing, and sneezing will be crucial for the first 3 days. To prevent abusive coughing and throat clearing, use an “open cough” (inhale, make a strong silent “h” sound) to clear the mucous from the vocal folds, or an unvoiced “uh-uh-uh”. To prevent voiced sneezing, press the side of your finger just under your nose as you inhale in small “hasps” through your mouth. Use silent laughing and smiling facial expressions to replace voiced laughing.

Voice Rest: "I'm Not Allowed to Talk?  What Do I Do?"

You’ve had surgery on your vocal cords and recommended complete voice rest for a week!  For some people that may be a relief to you or your family members, but if you are like the majority of the population, complete voice rest seems impossible.  Good news, you can still communicate with family, friends and coworkers.  This review of assistive communication will show you communication is possible.

Least technological and lowest cost:

Writing messages with good old fashion pen and paper is quick, easy.   Dry Erase boards are also an economical way to communicate information.  One of my patients recently used the Magic Slate by Toba.   It is the old version of writing on a pad with a stylist prior to the newer versions of today including the Boogie Board 8.5-Inch LCD Writing Tablet, Cyan (PT01085CYAA0002) found on amazon for $18.22.  Write your message and erase with a touch of a button.  The Magnetic Doodle Drawing Board ($13.99 on

These techniques are non-technical ways to communicate and a good option for quick responses or short questions, however, it becomes a little more cumbersome for lengthy conversations.  Below are some suggested technological applications for nonverbal communication:

Text-To-Speech Apps:

These mobile applications allow individuals to type a message and have the device speak the message.

Predictable: (Download:  App Store/Google Play with cost $159.99)

Talk To Me:  Type any text and your iOS device will talk for you. (Download:  App Store and the cost - free!)


Text to Speech by Luiggi Daniel Minaya Salcedo (Download:  App Store and the cost–free for basic version)


Proloquo4Text: Text-based AAC for iOS/AssistiveWare (approxomately $100-$150)

Can run on iPad or iPod Touch without wireless or phone service. Text-based communication app that gives a voice to literate people who cannot speak.  Can support you own voice.  The service by Acapela Group allows users to record their own voice or one of a family member prior to being placed on voice rest  Available here:

TextSpeak: TS Series Talking $475.00 - $565.00.

Powerful speech generation device for post-operative patients.  Works over speakerphone telephones. Available here:


  • Medical examination
  • Consultation with speech pathologist, if needed
  • Before surgery, you may have an appointment with a speech pathologist to develop your personal pre-surgical and post-surgical treatment plan. In certain cases, this treatment plan is a critical component of your healing process.
  • Schedule Follow-Up Office Visits with Dr. Anderson: 1 week, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months.


  • Days 1 - 3:
    • Absolute voice rest (no speaking, singing, coughing, throat clearing, laughing, or sneezing)
  • Day 4 - Week 2:
    • Begin restricted vocal use with easy onsets and supplemental voice exercises.
    • Gradually increase amount of daily speaking.
  • Weeks 3 - 4:
    • Continue gradually increasing the amount of daily speaking, using easy onsets.
    • Singers: Begin daily vocal eases; no singing.
  • Weeks 5 - 6:
    • Begin speaking normally, with good breath support and easy onsets.
    • Singers: Increase vocal exercises and guided singing; move toward full singing voice.

Click Here to See a List of Herbal Supplements to Avoid Prior to Vocal Cord Surgery