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Oesophageal Patients Association
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Structural Technical advice needed re Ivor Lewis operation

This is a technical question, Does the Ivor Lewis operation effect your tongue or back of your throat in any way? I had the IL 2 years ago next week and also play a brass instrument I have difficulty with quick tonging now, could be I’m getting older though my colleagues tell me I sound as though I am making a throaty noise. I also seem to fill up with saliva more than I used too. I have all the usual IL changes in life, and am glad I can continue with this hobby.

This site has helped me so much to know my new normal, thanks to you all.

9 Replies

Not directly, but you never know with the delicate nerve system, or the anaesthetic tube put into your throat, or possible effects of reflux?

But the body can adapt to exercises, so I would suggest you persevere, and ask the surgeon when you next see them.


Never thought about this one, yep that maybe true my throat does feel different. I need to speak to my Consultant. I have an appointment in 5 months’ time hopefully by then I will be improving. I now remember I knew someone whose voice changed after having the ‘tube’

Thanks for this


Yes, I think so. Not so sure about the tongue, but I certainly salivate more and sometimes lose my voice since my IL operation. I used to think it was due to damage done to my throat by the respirator during surgery, but that was over 10 years ago. I now suspect that it's due to damage caused by occasional acid and bile reflux.


Thanks for this I was begining to think I was getting to old to do the hard bits even though I know lots of people older than me who play. Albert is 92 and plays a e flat Bass.


The response to this may depend on the exact nature of the surgical procedure which you have experienced -- everybody's is different.

Do you have a cervical anastomosis?......that is a scar on the left side of your neck running

approximately from the ear down to the collar bone?

If the answer is yes then it is likely to have interfered with the left recurrent laryngeal nerve which can affect many functions - speech/salivation/swallowing/etc.


Exactly right. It's what I had and it paralysed my vocal chord and if the anamastosis is high enough you can also lose part of your swallow reflux as I did. I find swallowing tiring and had a feeling of something in my throats for along time (like globus). You need to see a laryngologist to check these functions


I was fortunate enough to have an IL that only needed the Abdominal - Key Hole and Thoracic scars. Though I was warned that this may not be possible depending on how the operation progressed.

Even after 2 years I do have cough, swallowing and Saliva issues and my singing voice is much poorer one reason I have left the choir I was in because of this.

I need to keep practicing though that does make my throat ache. I don’t seem to be able to get back to the standard I was in before my life saving opp.



I wonder if your musical muscle training gives you a "different" reaction to some others who have also had the IL surgery? I am not a player but do know a professional trumpet player. He tells me that he exercises his throat muscles fr the trumpet and has certain foods, drinks that he knows, help or hinder his performance.

I had a Transchiatal Oesophagectomy (not easy to say even with training) and I do get sore throats and muscle spasms along with the excess saliva. I am told that this is "normal"

I wish you well.


Now learning some throat muscle exercises that singers use, already avoid cold drinks and heavy foods etc. Thanks for asking your contact, its back to basics, thats going back many years hope my memory holds out


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