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Implant Surgery

Posted Jan 14 2009 4:55pm
Congrats to those who guessed that Tricia was having surgery to help strengthen her voice. The surgery is called (WARNING: the info share in the following link, especially the video, is graphic...don't view if medical stuff makes you queezy)Medialization Laryngoplasty, and is basically a (relatively) quick procedure that involves placing a small implant next to the paralyzed vocal chord to nudge it close enough to the working chord to allow the voice to sound normal.

Tricia's left vocal chord was paralyzed during her transplant surgery...basically, the nerves stemming from the left vocal chord can reach all the way down to where they cut across Tricia's chest. A paralized vocal chord is common with transplant surgeries, but often, the damage is naturally corrected within six months. Tricia's voice did not get better over time, and once she was deemed healthy and strong enough after all of the cancer stuff, she jumped at the chance to have the surgery, even though it was scheduled (one day in advance) on Gwyneth's birthday. So, basically, Tricia has been speaking with half of her normal voice since the transplant.

Tricia was awake during the procedure...the medical team needed to ask her to speak so that they could place the implant in the best spot. Although it will take a week or so for Tricia to fully recover and for the swelling and irritation in her throat to allow her voice to be as strong as possible, she is feeling great and we could tell an immediate difference in the strength of her voice.

Sorry to keep you guessing for so long...check out the comparison of the two videos below...

Just Before Surgery

Tonight, 5 Days Post-Surgery

The coolest part of this story? When I spoke with Tricia after her surgery around noon on Gwyneth's birthday, it had been exactly 365 days, almost to the hour, since I (and Gwyneth too) had last heard my wife's beautiful voice so clearly just before she was wheeled off for the c-section...although the transplant surgery caused the damage, you might remember that Tricia's voice was muted while she was intubated from the time between c-section until the transplant surgery.

Anyway, we're excited to have a little more of our "normal" life back again...and Tricia is excited to be able to sing, have people understand her on the phone and yell at me when I'm goofing around too much.


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