<<<The respiratory (breathing) system is made up of the nose, larynx (voice box), trachea (windpipe), bronchial tubes, and lungs. When air is breathed in, it goes through the nose and mouth. The air then goes to the larynx and then through the trachea. From the trachea, air passes through the bronchial tubes and into the lungs.
<<<The esophagus is the soft swallowing tube that carries food and liquids from your throat to your stomach.
This means looking at your larynx, or voice box. The doctor places tools inside your mouth to keep it open and to keep your tongue out of the way. Your doctor can look at other parts of the throat using the same tools. Your doctor may see a mass or lesion. If so, a small amount of tissue (biopsy) is taken and sent to a lab for tests. The doctor uses tools to stop the bleeding in the areas where tissue was taken out. Rarely, a tooth can be chipped or dislodged even though tooth protectors are used during surgery. You may have tongue numbness after surgery which sometimes can takes weeks to improve. If a lesion is removed from the vocal cords, you may have hoarseness after surgery.
A test that helps the doctor look at the inside your esophagus (swallowing tube). The test is done using a special tube (scope) that has a camera and light. The doctor can remove growths (polyps) if they are found. Small pieces of tissue can also be removed (biopsy) if needed. The lab can then check the tissue for disease. The test is safe. There is a 1% risk of a puncture of the esophagus which could cause a severe chest infection.
This is a special test where the doctor will be able to actually see inside your lungs and even take small samples if needed. This is done with a special camera that will be carefully placed into your windpipe while you are sleeping. The test is safe. There is less than a 1% risk of puncture of the airway which could cause a collapsed lung and breathing problems.
You will go home the same day of surgery. You will need someone to drive you home.
If biopsies are taken, your surgeon or a resident surgeon will call you with the result of the biopsy as soon as it is available. This usually takes 5-7 VA business days.
If you have not heard the results within that time, please call the Ear Nose Throat (ENT) clinic to request the results. After Surgery Care: Activity:
You can resume your usual activity the day after surgery. If you have had surgery on your vocal cords, please rest your voice for one week. You must only talk 5 minutes every hour of one-on-one conversation. You must nottalk on the phone, sing, whisper, or yell.
You may eat your regular diet after surgery, as long as your stomach is not upset from the anesthesia. If it is, wait until you feel better before you start eating solid foods. If you had biopsies of your throat, you should follow a soft diet for a week.
Pain is usually mild. You may not need strong narcotic medicine, unless deep biopsies were taken. The sooner you reduce your narcotic pain med use, the faster you will heal. As your pain lessens, try using extra-strength acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead of your narcotic med. Never take more than 3 grams (or 3000 milligrams) of acetaminophen within 24 hours. You can hurt your liver if you take too much. Please check the medication bottle to see how many milligrams of acetaminophen are in each tablet.
It is best to reduce your pain to a level you can manage, rather than to get rid of the pain completely. Please start at a lower of narcotic pain med, and increase the dose only if the pain remains uncontrolled. Decrease the dose if the side effects are too severe.
Do not drive, operate dangerous machinery, or do anything dangerous if you are taking narcotic pain medication (such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, etc.) This medication affects your reflexes and responses, just like alcohol.
When to Call Your Surgeon: If you have…
Any concerns. We would much rather that you call your surgeon then worry at home, or get into trouble.
Persistent fever over 101.5 degrees F.
Cannot eat or drink.
If you have chest pain or problems breathing, don’t call--go to the closest emergency room right away.
How to Call Your Surgeon:
If it is urgent, call 911 or go directly to the emergency room without calling.
If it is not urgent, during office hours of 8 am to 4 pm, call the ENT secretary at 352-548-6143 or the ENT clinical coordinator at 352-548-6142. Messages will be checked frequently and a doctor will be asked to return your call.
If it is not urgent but cannot wait, please try one of these ENT clinic numbers: the nurses’ station at 352-548-6150, or the front desk at 352-648-6153. Do not leave a message at these numbers.
If you still have not spoken with a surgeon, or if it is after 4 pm or a weekend, call the VA operator at 352-376-1611(toll free 1-800-324-8387) and press 0 to speak with the operator. Insist that the operator page the ENT resident surgeon on-call.
<<<Your follow up appointment date will depend on your surgery and biopsy results. You may have been given the results of your biopsy, but still don't when to come back. If so, call the VA Ear Nose Throat (ENT) Clinic front desk at 352-548-6153 Visit your NF/SGVHS Internet site at: