Thursday, July 5, 2012

Laser laryngoscopy vs. balloon dialation

Think of them both as maintenance surgeries.  Neither will cure you.  Not after a series of three, not ever.  This diagnosis is PROGRESSIVE people!  If any doctor tells you that it might go away, call baloney on them!  Both of these surgeries work:  they keep the airway open, they are fairly non-invasive, and it is in-and-out surgery.  THEY ARE NOT A CURE.  (Unless you are very very lucky)

Laser Laryngoscopy  I can no longer count on both hands how many times I have had this done, I did 11 of these with Dr. Dedo at UCSF, under general anesthesia.  Dr. Dedo may request you stay the night if you are older ( I was only 22 when I first saw him).  Many doctors completely obliterate the scar with the laser, but Dr. Dedo has perfected a flap procedure, in which he flaps healthy tissue over the laser incision, so new scar doesn't form.Your throat is sore, but not in enough pain to require pain medication.  You are told not to cough, that you might 'ruin' the surgeon's handiwork, when the urge is so strong to do exactly that.  When you finally oblige that urge you will cough up a bit of mucousy blood.  Dr. Dedo put me on 5 days voice rest.  I did refrain from talking for five days the first time I had the surgery (I used a whiteboard to communicate with my husband), and I refrained from speaking for about five hours the other ten times (I just like to talk, OK?) And it didn't actually hurt to talk, so why not?  Your surgeon might spray some Mitomicen - C on the area in hopes to inhibit regrowth of the scar.  Or he might send you home with a steroid inhaler.  Dr. Dedo only did half of the scar's circumference each time he saw me, because he worried about it collapsing altogether.  The relief you feel post surgery is about a 7 1/2 out of ten.  In millimeters you will be given a whopping 2 -3 millimeters more space to move air through your trachea.  Which is a lot if your airway is narrowed down quite a bit by the scar tissue.

Balloon Dilation  I had a total of 4 of these procedures with Dr. Senders at UC Davis.  Dr. Senders did not understand the need Dr. Dedo felt for voice rest, as it's got nothing to do with vocal cords.  But then again, it's a different surgeon, different procedure. The most painful part of balloon dilation of the trachea is the IV, seriously, the site of the dilation did not hurt at all. If it wasn't for the nausea I felt from general anesthesia, I could have gone to the gym afterwards.  The relief you feel post surgery is once again about a 7 1/2 out of ten as far as breathing goes.  In millimeters you will be given a whopping 2 -3 millimeters more space to move air through your trachea.  Which is a lot of you are narrowed down quite a bit. Because Dr. Senders left the scheduling of my treatments completely up to me, I got myself into a bit of a pickle almost every time.  I wait till it gets bad.  During the winter if I was congested, I would wake up in a panic because of shortness of breath, from a DEAD SLEEP!  You see, the anatomy of subglottic stenosis is a ring of fibrous scar tissue.  Laying prone for hours during sleep, any mucous in your sinuses will gather, rest there, and harden in your narrow airway.  It's gross, I know.  At the worst I would have to get up and steam in the shower for half an hour, just to get my breathing and heart rate under control.  Mucinex helps tremendously and I don't go to sleep without it if I have a cold.

1 comment:

  1. I'm in Europe for work and here you can get thyme juice (an extract of the herb) which works far better than Mucinex for me.