My vocal cords post-surgery

Here are four images captured by my surgeon, Dr. Noah Parker, at The Voice Clinic of Indiana in Carmel, during my first visit to him, twelve days after surgery.

I do not, at this time, have any pre-surgery pictures.  I requested those, and he said that I will soon receive in the mail a DVD which will contain all of the images that have been captured, and including a video of the cords while in action.

The first picture is of my vocal cords at rest.  Though this is post-surgery, you can discern the natural shape and length of the cords


The second image is a bit closer.  Note the white area at the bottom.  Here is where Dr. Parker stitched together the two sides, to make the opening smaller by making the length of the cords shorter.  The larger the space and longer the cords, the slower they vibrate and the lower the pitch, that is, the number of vibrations per second, and the smaller the space and shorter they are the quicker they vibrate and the higher the pitch.

Pre-surgery, my pitch was 115 vibrations per second, right on the average for a male.  Dr. Parker said that female range is 200-250.  Julie’s pitch registered at 246.  Post-surgery, my pitch registered at 240.

The white area will turn pink as the cords heal.  As they heal, the hoarseness with which I now speak will gradually dissipate, akin to one’s being raspy when suffering a severe cold or sore throat and its easing as one recovers.


Dr. Parker instructed me to vocalize an eeeeeeee sound.  My vocal cords open.  In the next image, the area which he stitched is more visible.


In the final image, my cords are wide open.  Dr. Parker gave the good news that all looks well.  I was on strict voice rest the first twelve days, but a few words slipped when I was caught off guard.  I was not to cough, practicing the silent cough, but I could not stifle as many as one third of my potential coughs.  I sneezed three times.  Since this was not like a wound on my skin that I could inspect, I had no idea if these occasions were damaging the surgery, causing the stitches to pull apart.  Dr. Parker had said that a bit of tearing always occurs, but if I experienced any he did not comment, nor did I think to ask.


As I post this on Monday, February 6, it has been six days since I first spoke.  It seems that my hoarseness has lessened a bit.  It is easier to speak and I am able to talk a louder.  In worship, yesterday, I attempted to sing one hymn.  I had to ditch it before completing one stanza, feeling too much strain on my throat.

I return to the doctor on March 7.  After he takes a fresh look at my cords, I will have a session with the voice therapist who specializes in working with trans folks.

In the mean time, I’ll just keep “hoarsing” around.

9 thoughts on “My vocal cords post-surgery

  1. goodness denise! i have wait 5 days for this post!

    it really is so interesting to see those images. and i love that you are healing!!! woot! ps. this girl dint watch any of the superbowl. she watched a sappy love story and is now looking for a job and tuny apt along the coast of anywhere!


    1. Kelly, have you ever had Tim Hortons coffee? I’d bring a cup of it to Gina & Julie on our next visit, but it would be cold by the time that you got it. Maybe a 1 lb. bag of TH coffee would have to suffice.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, Kelly. Denise is into the big build-up!

    No, actually, they had given me a print of the images, and I didn’t want to take pics with my phone fearing they would be too inferior in quality, and I don’t know how to run our scanner so I had to wait till I could pester Julie to do that for me on the weekend.

    Well, even if you don’t care of football, you might have found the fourth quarter and overtime as riveting as any movie. Wow!

    Sappy love story. The coast. Sleepless in Seattle? Lonely in LA? Itchy in Indy?


    1. Well, okay then. Which night do you want to come over for supper? Tacos, tonight. Chicken thighs, some sort of potato and vegetable, tomorrow. Chili on Wednesday. And, for Thursday, I have hauled one of the turkeys from the freezer for the full-Thanksgiving-style meal: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Mmmm . . .

      Oh, and of course Julie can show me how to use the scanner, yet . . . that control freak. 🙂


  3. Isn’t the more proper description of the full-Thanksgiving meal show gravy, turkey, gravy, dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy? 🙂


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