Vocal Cord Surgery
The vocal cords are folds of mucous membrane stretched across your voice box that vibrate when you speak. When you breathe, they are pulled apart, so air can pass freely in and out of your lungs. When you speak they are pulled together, so the air blows against them, causing them to vibrate and generate sound. Occasionally, voice abuse, trauma, smoking or acid reflux can cause damage to the vocal cords, which can lead to hoarseness or a breathy voice. A fiberoptic exam will be performed in our office to distinguish problems that can be treated medically from those which will require surgery.
Microlaryngoscopy is a procedure where your vocal cords are exposed and examined under the microscope. Because of the location, general anesthesia is required. No incisions will be made externally. A hollow metal tube will be passed through your mouth, allowing direct visualization of the cords. Once the cords are exposed, any suspicious areas can be biopsied, and polyps or tumors can be removed. Any minor bleeding is controlled, and the metal tube is removed.
Most patients complain of only minor throat discomfort following the procedure, and are able to return home the same day. Because speaking or whispering causes the vocal cords to bang against each other which may cause injury you will be asked to maintain strict voice rest for 24 hours after the procedure and only speak when absolutely necessary for 1 -2 weeks.
Vocal Cord Injection
The vocal cords are folds of mucous membrane stretched across your voice box that vibrate when you speak. When you breathe, they are pulled apart, so air can pass freely in and out of your lungs. When you speak they are pulled together, so the air blows against them, causing them to vibrate and generate sound. Occasionally, patients develop paralysis of one of their vocal cords. This can come from damage to the nerve which supplies the vocal cord, resulting from surgery in the brain, neck or chest. It can also be caused by tumors, or stroke or may arise for unknown reasons. If one of the vocal cords is paralyzed, the other cord cannot come into contact with it, and patients complain of a hoarse, breathy voice, and occasionally have difficulty swallowing.
Vocal cord injection is a procedure where filler material is injected into the paralyzed cord allowing it to come into contact with the cord that is moving. This is typically performed under general anesthesia.
Patients are typically able to go home the same day. People usually notice improve voice quality immediately, although due to swelling, your voice may be worse for up to one week before it begins to improve. Injections can be made with temporary absorbable material, or with permanent material which gives permanent results.