Simon Rimmer is the wise-cracking chef and co-host of Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, a show he’s hosted with Tim Lovejoy since 2012. During a live broadcast of the show back in January, Tim teased his co-host by asking: “Can we have a voice update? When are we going to get your voice back?” Tim was alluding to Simon’s croaky voice, which had been giving him jip for weeks.
Speaking candidly about his condition, Simon revealed he was awaiting surgery to remove a cyst from his vocal cords.
Simon has since had the operation, and in a post on Twitter, the TV host shared a post-op update: “I’ve had an operation on my throat. I’m not allowed to talk.”
To illustrate the point, Simon accompanied the post with a picture that read: “I’ve had an operation on my throat. I’m not allowed to talk.”
In a follow-up post, the Sunday Brunch host said: “Ok op done. sore as f**k. No talking for two days which is a delight to friends n family.”
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Simon Rimmer health: Sunday Brunch host had an operation to remove a cyst from his vocal cord
What is a vocal cord cyst?
According to the British Voice Association (BVA), while there are different types of cysts than can develop on the vocal cords, the most common is the retention cyst.
A retention cyst develops when the duct of a small mucus producing gland becomes blocked forming a closed sac that fills with fluid or a semi-solid material,” explains the BVA.
What are the common symptoms?
According to the site, symptoms include:
- Breaks in voicing across specific areas of the vocal range
- Difficulties initiating voicing (slow onset) and in sustaining voicing to the end of a sentence (early offset)
- The difficulties initiating voicing also sometimes occur following unvoiced (whispered) consonants in a sentence
- A rough, hoarse, often harsh vocal quality
- A feeling of strain and of having to ‘push’ to keep the voice going
- If the vocal folds are very stiff because the lesion is more extensive, the pitch of the voice may rise and be combined with a strained, rough quality.
How is the condition treated?
“Recent advances in surgical technique (phonosurgery) mean that cysts and some sulci can be removed and scars can be modified, either resolving or improving the vocal symptoms,” explains the BVA.
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According to the site, it is little wonder Simon made a full recovery: “Cysts frequently respond well to surgical removal and the results are generally good.”
Although it is important to remember that recovery after removal of these lesions takes longer than simple healing, notes the online body.
“Do not be alarmed if your voice sounds temporarily worse after surgery. This should resolve with voice therapy over time and most people see good improvement within three months,” it adds.
Other causes of a croaky throat
As the NHS explains, a hoarse (croaky) voice is commonly chalked up to laryngitis.
Vocal cord cyst symptoms: A rough, hoarse voice is a common sign
Laryngitis is when your voice box or vocal cords in the throat become irritated or swollen.
It usually goes away by itself within one to two weeks, says the NHS.
What causes laryngitis? “Laryngitis usually happens when you have an infection from a virus, such as cold or flu,” explains the health body.
Other things that cause laryngitis include:
- Allergies to things like dust and fumes
- Acid from your stomach coming up your throat (acid reflux)
- Coughing over a long time
According to Cancer Research UK, if you have a hoarse voice for more than three weeks, it could be a sign of laryngeal cancer.
Laryngeal cancer is when cancer starts in the voice box (larynx). It is a rare type of head and neck cancer, explains the charity.
Other symptoms associated with laryngeal cancer include difficulty swallowing, weight loss, a cough that doesn’t go away and shortness of breath.
It is important that you go to your GP as soon as possible if you notice worrying symptoms because the treatment is more likely to be successful the sooner it is picked up, advises Cancer Research UK.