Postoperative Voice Use

Voice Use Following Vocal Fold Micro-Surgery in Singers

During the first 4 days following surgery–NO TALKING. During this time communicate instead using a dry erase board, pencil and paper or sign language. You may attempt to do gentle “gliding sounds” throughout your range every few hours for a few seconds, of course expecting to be hoarse! Your surgeon or speech pathologist will demonstrate what is meant by this. Day 4 following surgery (which begins week one of voice use): you may begin limited voice use according to the table below:

Note that we use a 1 through 7 scale to designate amount of talking. On this scale, 1 = someone who is quiet, introverted, and says little. 7 = someone who is sociable, extroverted, and who by nature talks a lot.

Quality of TalkingQuality of Singing (if you sing)
WEEK ONE (days 4 through 11)
Be a “2.” This means minimal voice use to get the “business of life” done. Perhaps 5 minutes of talking for any 30 minute period of the day.
Vocalize gently 5 minutes twice a day. Begin to establish baseline for your “swelling tests.” (If needed, see also instruction sheet on this subject.)
WEEK TWO Be a “3.” Simple conversations. Up to 10 minutes within A 30 minute period.Vocalize gently up to 15 minutes twice a day. Be sure to check “swelling tests” at least 2 x per day.
WEEK THREE Be a “4.” Limit talking to 15 minute stretches with a 15 minute rest period.Vocalize up to 20 minutes three times per day. Swelling tests!
WEEK FOUR Be a “5.” Near-normal amounts of voice use but continue to beware of overdoing it! Twenty minutes of talking should be followed by some “down time.”Vocalize/sing up to 30 minutes 3 x per day.
WEEK FIVE Continue to use voice at near-normal amounts, but with a sense of prudence and caution in noisy environments.Begin to resume normal rehearsal and practice schedule, but not exceeding 90 minutes per day. It is critical that you perform swelling tests every morning and evening and compare to your baseline performance of these tasks.
WEEK SIX and beyond PUBLIC PERFORMANCE MAY RESUMENormal rehearsal and practice schedule. Continue twice-daily swelling tests, especially if you are innately a “six” or “seven.”