Can you get surgery to sing better?

Singing is a skill people can develop over time. People can also learn to sing better by practicing at home.

Singing lessons can help people develop the ability to sing, but surgery alone won’t improve a person’s singing ability.

The surgery will help people with a range of conditions that cause breathing problems.

In more severe cases, people may need a breathing machine.

People with a severe vocal cord injury or an enlarged vocal cord may need a tracheostomy. This is a cut in the throat, through which breathing tubes are passed.

A tracheostomy can help people breathe easier.

Types of surgery

There are different types of vocal cord surgery.

Vocal cord augmentation

Vocal cord augmentation is the most common type of surgery for people with a vocal cord injury.

This procedure involves fixing the damaged vocal cord to prevent it from moving.

Vocal cord plication

Another type of surgery for people with a vocal cord injury is vocal cord plication.

This involves fixing the vocal cord to prevent it from moving.

Vocal cord resection

Vocal cord resection is a surgery that involves removing the damaged vocal cord.

This procedure is usually only done for people with more severe vocal cord injuries.

Surgery is usually only recommended for people who try to sing but can’t, or don’t want to, practice singing.

Surgery is more likely to be needed for people who:

  • Can’t sing without making other people hear them
  • Have a severe speech problem that can’t be fixed

Surgical outcomes

Surgery can help people who can’t sing or who don’t want to practice singing.

The surgery can also help people with a range of conditions that cause breathing problems.

For example, people may need a breathing machine if they have a severe vocal cord injury.

People with a tracheostomy may need a breathing machine or other breathing assistance.

People may also need a tracheostomy if they need to be in a hospital.

Surgical outcomes depend on the type of surgery the surgeon recommends.

Most people with vocal cord surgery get better over time.

Recovery

Recovery time depends on the type of surgery the surgeon recommends and the extent of the damage.

Vocal cord surgery is usually only needed if singing can’t be practiced.

People usually need to keep the vocal cord and skin from the other vocal cords intact during recovery.

It can take up to six weeks to recover from a surgical procedure.

Recovery time varies depending on the type of surgery. For example, it can take longer for people to recover from vocal cord plication than it does for people to recover from vocal cord augmentation.

People may need to use a breathing machine if they need to be in the hospital.

People may also need to avoid certain activities for a few weeks.

These may include:

  • Heavy heavy lifting
  • Heavy activities like playing sports and gardening
  • Activities that involve talking, singing, or talking while singing
  • Activities that involve coughing, sneezing, or vomiting

Complications

Complications depend on the type of surgery the surgeon recommends.

People may need a breathing machine if they have a severe vocal cord injury.

This can cause complications like:

  • Breathing problems
  • Infection
  • Lung damage

After surgery, people may also need to avoid singing for a few weeks.

This may be because:

  • It can be hard to sing while using a breathing machine
  • It can be hard to sing with a tracheostomy

People may need to sing in a different voice for a while after surgery.

This is because people can have a range of vocal cord disorders, and the surgery can fix different symptoms.

If a person can’t sing, they might have to sing in a different voice for a while.

People can practice singing with a breathing machine at home.

A person should only practice singing for about two hours a day.

Before they can resume singing, they need to practice singing for at least five hours a day.

The vocal cords may need to be kept closed to minimize the risk of infection.

People may need to use a breathing machine for a longer time if they have a tracheostomy.

People can learn to sing with a tracheostomy at home.

Rehabilitation after surgery

Rehabilitation varies depending on the type of surgery people have.

In general, people can do the following:

  • Practice singing for at least five hours a day
  • Practice singing in a different voice for about two hours a day
  • Take medication as prescribed
  • Listen to music

People can also do the following while recovering from surgery:

  • Move their lips and tongue
  • Practice breathing through the nose, as needed

People can learn to sing in a different voice at home.

People can find videos and recordings online.

People can also learn to sing while using a breathing device, a breathing machine, or a tracheostomy.

For a tracheostomy, people can learn to sing while using a breathing device.

People can also sing while using a breathing device for at least five hours at a time.

Outcomes

People with vocal cord surgery usually get better over time.

People usually need to keep the vocal cords and skin from the other vocal cords intact during recovery.

For people with a severe vocal cord injury, surgery may be recommended.

This can help people with a range of breathing problems.

Vocal cord surgery is also often recommended for people with a tracheostomy.

This is because surgery can help people improve their breathing.

People who have a tracheostomy might need to use a breathing machine or breathing assistance for a long time.

A breathing device can help people breathe better.

People can also use a breathing machine to sing in a different voice.

People with a tracheostomy can also sing while using a breathing device for hours at a time.

Summary

Surgical procedures can help people with vocal cord injuries improve their ability to sing.

Recovery time may vary, depending on the type of surgery.

Images by Freepik

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