Vocal cord paralysis is a health condition that affects the two folds of tissue in the voice box known as vocal cords. These folds are very crucial for humans as it gives the ability to breathe, speak, and swallow. This condition can affect one or both of the vocal cords. It needs immediate clinical attention and usually is treated by surgery for restoring the communication between the nerves in the brain and vocal cords.
Vocal cord paralysis is also referred to as vocal cord paresis which hugely affects the regular life of an individual. Patients with this condition experience issues like mild to severe decreases in their speech volume, vocal fatigue, pain in the throat, etc.
There are two types of vocal cord paralysis which are:
Vocal cord paralysis symptoms differ by the cause and whether one or both the vocal cords are affected. Have a look at the symptoms:
If any of these symptoms are experienced, it is important to consult an ENT specialist for an evaluation.
There are various conditions causing damage to the nerves responsible for controlling the vocal cords functioning. These conditions are:
Clinical professionals in ear, nose, and throat (ENT) conditions are known as otolaryngologists and providers’ experts in throat and voice box are laryngologists. They will ask about the symptoms and clinical history of an individual. Here are the tests that a doctor might order for vocal cord paralysis diagnosis:
One must consider the vocal cord paralysis treatment as soon as the symptoms are observed. No at-home treatment is available for this condition so one must get in touch with the doctor immediately when symptoms are observed. The treatment options for vocal cord paralysis are:
Vocal cord paralysis usually goes away on its own within months or years. If the condition is not resolving by itself, then the doctor will order voice therapy. It helps in restoring the nerve communication between the larynx and brain before moving forward with the surgery option. The purpose of this therapy is to improve the vocal cords functioning through repetitive exercises. With simple exercises, one can retain their vocal cords easily.
If voice therapy is not helping, then the doctor will suggest surgery. In case, both the vocal cords are paralysed then the doctor will ask to get the surgery done straightway.
Voice cord injection
It is a procedure which involves the use of injectable material so that the vocal cord is bulkier and is smooth to move. It is performed by putting a laryngoscope into the throat and takes only a few minutes for filling the vocal fold evenly.
This surgery is performed if one vocal cord is paralyzed. This procedure changes the vocal cords' shape and location. With this surgery, the cord is moved towards the one having nerve function. It allows an individual to produce the sound through their voice box, swallow, and breathe easily.
If both the vocal cords are paralyzed, then the doctor will perform a tracheotomy. This surgery will give direct access to the patient’s trachea (windpipe) so that an opening is created in the neck. The doctor will use a tube for breathing and clearing secretions from the windpipe. The surgery is performed only if paralyzed vocal cords cause issues like breathing, coughing, swallowing, and putting an individual in danger of suffocation. The tracheostomy tube can be permanent in some cases.
Rukmani Birla Hospital, Jaipur is among the well-known multispecialty hospitals across the city with cutting-edge medical equipment and outstanding infrastructure to offer wide-ranging care to patients. Our team of highly experienced doctors and surgeons offer complete medical care and post-operative tips for a smooth and fast recovery.
You can refer to our expert neuro doctor if you observe vocal cord paralysis symptoms. Here is why you must choose us:
Yes, vocal cord paralysis is a rare and life-threatening condition. The cords are placed above the windpipe directly responsible for swallowing and breathing functions.
Vocal cord paralysis leads to impairing an individual’s efficiency to communicate and can cause disability filings in the short or long term. It also leads to severe morbidities like aspiration pneumonia if left untreated.
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