Recovery after a tracheal shave
Table of contents:
What can you expect after a Tracheal Shave, and how to take care of yourself and your voice to improve recovery time?
What to expect after your tracheal shave?
- Swelling—There may be swelling 24-48 hours after your tracheal shave. This is normal and can last for up to six weeks. We understand that this can be distressing, as you might think you aren't able to breathe. You really don’t need to worry about this. The trachea is very strong and doesn’t succumb to this temporary pressure.
- Pain—The pain you experience after your tracheal shave feels a bit like a throat infection. It is difficult to talk and swallow, and you have a burning sensation in your throat. This pain can last for about seven to ten days.
- Scar—Initially, the scar will be red and visible. A year after your tracheal shave, all that will be left will be a narrow white line that will hardly be noticeable due to its placement in a natural crease.
- Some air under the skin—Very often it’s unavoidable that a little hole towards the windpipe is created during a tracheal shave. This will, of course, be closed by a suture. But it’s entirely normal that some air will escape from the windpipe during speech or coughing. However, after a few days/weeks this will heal on its own without any treatment.
What is happening with your voice and why?
It’s possible that the quality of your voice lessens after the surgery. This can be caused by the following two things:
- The tube that is placed in between the vocal cords to ventilate the patient during surgery can affect the mucus of your vocal folds.
- There is laryngeal swelling for a few months. This will affect your external laryngeal muscles that can affect your voice range and voice quality.
So it’s normal that after the surgery and during the recovery, you will have
- A smaller voice range;
- A lesser voice quality: a croaky/hoarse voice;
- A sore throat;
- Tension in your throat/neck area;
- Difficulties swallowing or talking.
What to do
- Take vocal rest—Take a pause after talking for a while
- Avoid pressure changes—Avoid coughing and clearing your throat with effort, or emitting sounds while performing a physical or muscular effort (for example lifting a weight).
- Yawning—Use the yawn to relax the pharyngo-buccal area.
- Hot steam—Inhale hot steam (inhalator) without aromas that will dry you out (eg eucalyptus, menthol), to recover the mucus of your vocal folds
- Voice relaxation exercises
- Voice flexibility exercises
- Time—Give yourself and your body the time to recover, so the swelling can go down. Stress is an important factor, the more stress you experience, the slower the recovery might be.
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