Vocal Cord Nodules & Polyps

Vocal cord lesions are benign and abnormal growths within or along the vocal cord.

They are generally seen in three forms; nodules, polyps and cysts. They are the most common cause of voice problems.

Common causes of Vocal Cord Lesions:

Vocal Cord Nodules

Vocal cord nodules are sometimes called Singer’s Nodes or Screamer’s nodes. They are a callous that can appear on both sides of the vocal cords. Like other callouses, vocal cord nodules can decrease in size when overuse of the voice is stopped.

Vocal Cord Polyps

A vocal cord polyp typically occurs on only one side of the vocal cord and can occur in a range of shapes and sizes.

Vocal Cord Cysts

A vocal cord cyst is a firm mass of tissue that is contained within a membrane or sac. The cyst can be near the surface of the vocal cord or deeper near the ligament of the vocal cord.

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Causes

  • Yelling
  • Screaming
  • Speaking or singing excessively
  • Allergies
  • Smoking
  • Tense muscles
  • Reflux

Symptoms

These can be as follows:

  • A change in your voice are often the first signs of a vocal cord lesion.
  • Hoarseness
  • Neck pain
  • Low pitch
  • Voice breaks
  • Frequent throat clearing
  • Low, gravelly voice
  • Sensation of a lump in the throat
  • Voice and body fatigue
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Diagnosis of Vocal Cord Lesions

Dr Katzen will begin by taking a complete history of the voice problem and will listen carefully to how you speak and use your voice.  Then a thorough examination of your vocal cords is performed. A special instrument with a camera and fibre optic light is used to view the vocal cord and larynx (voice box). This allows us to see clearly and to assess the vocal cord vibration.

Treatment of Vocal Cord Lesions

Vocal cord nodules, vocal cord polyps and vocal cord cysts can be treated medically, surgically and /or behaviourally.

Surgical intervention involves the removal of the lesion from the vocal cord.

Medical intervention may include giving up smoking and treating allergies and reflux.

Behavioural intervention can involve voice therapy. This can involve stopping or reducing the abuse of the voice and training in how to use the voice in a gentler manner. Stress reduction techniques may also be taught along with relaxation exercises.

Don’t go silent, make an appointment for an expert diagnosis and well considered treatment.