Voice disorders after total thyroidectomy: Prospective patient self-assessment in comparison with traditional and alternative methods of examining the vocal folds
Background Voice alterations after thyroidectomy with mobile vocal folds are common. Ultrasonography has been used to assess the mobility of the vocal folds after thyroidectomy. Methods 54 patients underwent thyroidectomy. Indirect laryngoscopy, ultrasonography and GRBAS scoring were performed preoperatively,3 days, 2 and 6 months postoperatively. Results On the third postoperative day, the mobility of the vocal folds was preserved in 52 patients and paresis were recorded in 2 patients. All
... 2 patients. All patients after total thyroidectomy noted the presence of voice alteration in the absence of the postoperative paresis of the vocal folds. On the third postoperative day, the voice was impaired by all criteria of the GRBAS scale, but mainly due to roughness (85%). Sixth month postoperatively 62% of the subjects considered the voice to be altered. Asthenia was observed in 39%. On the third postoperative day indirect laryngoscopy revealed the unchanged vocal folds, the symmetrical edema and the shortening of one of the vocal folds in 56%,42% and 1.9%. Six months postoperatively, the vocal folds returned to their original form. Ultrasonography was well correlated to the results of indirect laryngoscopy. Patients with edema of the vocal folds had a significantly higher mean GRBAS grade than patients without edema. The mean GRBAS score decreased from 3.36 to 0.90, 3 days and 6 months postoperatively. Conclusion Voice alteration after total thyroidectomy is always present. Postoperative edema represents a likely main cause of voice alteration and resolves within 6 months. Ultrasonography is recommended as alternative to indirect laryngoscopy in assessing of the vocal folds in thyroid surgery patients.