Diet After a Vocal Cord Surgery

A number of conditions can necessitate vocal cord surgery. Examples of vocal cord surgery are the removal of masses and the repair of scarring that interferes with speech and breathing. If you're about to undergo vocal cord surgery, your surgeon and other heath-care providers will provide you with a list of guidelines – such as temporary diet modifications – to maximize healing after the procedure.

A bowl of broth.
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Clear Liquids

Because your vocal cords are susceptible to drying out, and dehydration can be harmful to your vocal cords, fluids are a must after vocal cord surgery, according to the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. Although you may experience some soreness right after surgery, you should be able to tolerate cool and clear liquids such as water and sports drinks. Drink enough fluids to keep your urine light yellow to clear, and avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they can be dehydrating. If you have trouble drinking liquids without coughing, try thicker liquids – such as shakes – and foods that have a pudding-like consistency, Georgetown University Hospital suggests.

Thick Liquids and Soft Foods

Unless your surgeon recommends that you stick to clear liquids, you should be able to try some thick liquids after your first clear-liquid meal, according to the Osborne Head & Neck Institute of California. Examples of thick liquids are cream soups, nectars and shakes. Increase your intake slowly, as tolerated. Soft foods such as pureed vegetables, ice cream, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese may also be easy to eat.

Other Limits

You should be able to resume your normal eating habits within days of the procedure. However, your surgeon may recommend that you avoid hot liquids for 24 to 48 hours to reduce your risk of bleeding, according to the Ear Nose and Throat Associates of Paoli, which is in Pennsylvania. If you have persistent nausea and vomiting from general anesthesia, stick to clear fluids and bland foods such as white rice and toast until the nausea and vomiting subside. Greasy, spicy and fried foods can make nausea worse, and acidic and spicy foods can irritate an already sore throat. Steer clear of irritating foods for 48 to 72 hours after your surgery, recommends the Associates in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery of Worcester, Mass.


Vocal cord problems are sometimes a side effect of chronic acid reflux problems, and stomach acid can do further damage to your vocal cords when you're healing after surgery, according to the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. If you have gastric reflux symptoms such as heartburn and indigestion, your doctor may suggest that you continue taking antacid medications and avoid common reflux trigger foods such as citrus fruits, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, fatty foods, mint, spicy foods and tomato-based foods.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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