Vocal Cord Trauma and Voice Correction Surgery

Vocal Trauma and Voice Disorders

There are four different types of vocal disorders, the majority of which will not require voice disorder surgery. Issues that rarely require voice disorder surgery include:

  • Laryngitis: A hoarse or raspy voice caused by vocal cord inflammation.
  • Vocal Polyps: Soft, blister-like growths on the vocal cords. These non-cancerous growths can make the voice sound hoarse, low and weak.
  • Vocal Nodules: Much like polyps, nodules are non-cancerous. They are callouses on the vocal cords that often grow in pairs, one on each cord. Nodules are a common problem for professional singers and can cause the voice to become hoarse, low and weak. Rarely, if vocal nodules and polyps are too large or if they have been there for a long time, they will need surgery.

Vocal cord paralysis is the voice disorder that most often calls for surgical intervention. Vocal cord paralysis happens when one or both of the vocal cords won’t open or close properly. When the paralysis affects one cord, the patient’s voice will be weak and they may have trouble swallowing when eating or drinking. When both cords are paralyzed, the patient may have trouble breathing as well.

Treatments for this vocal disorder may include surgery. However, sometimes the vocal cords may heal on their own and at other times, vocal cord paralysis can be treated with voice therapy alone. When you come to Renew for a consultation, your ENT physician will carefully assess your particular condition and will come to a course of action working with your needs.

What Causes Vocal Cord Dysfunction?

Vocal trauma can develop for a variety of reasons, however, the most common cause is vocal misuse or overuse. For instance, a patient may experience vocal trauma when they work in a loud environment and have to shout to be heard on a daily basis.

The causes of vocal cord paralysis are more varied and include:

  • Chest, head or neck injury
  • Problems occurring during surgery
  • Stroke
  • Tumor
  • Cancers such as lung or thyroid
  • Particular neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s
  • Viral infection

What To Expect From Voice Correction Surgery

At Renew, we’ll use a variety of tactics to address vocal cord dysfunction. Patients experiencing vocal cord paralysis may be prescribed vocal cord injections. These injections are an alternative to a voice correction surgery called micro-suspension laryngoscopy.

Injections usually take a few minutes. This is an outpatient procedure. Discomfort is minimal but you’ll likely have a numb throat so you’ll want to avoid eating and drinking for one to two hours afterwards.

Renew also performs excision of vocal cord lesions. During consultations with our doctors, you’ll discuss whether a Microlaryngoscopy or a laser procedure will work best for you. It’s important to fully rest your voice after these procedures.

You deserve a voice. Renew will work with you to help you get it back.

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