Vocal Cord Paresis / Paralysis

Vocal Cord Paresis / Paralysis: Overview

Vocal cord paresis is a condition where one or both vocal cords don't open and close properly, changing the sound of one's voice.  When one or both vocal cords do not move at all, the condition is called vocal cord paralysis.

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Causes and Development

Vocal cord paresis can be caused by

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of vocal cord paresis include voice changes (hoarseness, a 'breathy' voice, pitch changes, inability to speak loudly), throat discomfort, and (in some cases) breathing difficulty.

Treatment and Prevention

Different speaking techniques may lead to improvement.

Surgery may be able to improve speech by changing the position and/or adding bulk to the vocal cords.  Several options are available, including injection with various substances such as collagen, silicone, or body fat.

If both vocal cords are paralyzed, restoring proper breathing is the main priority.  This can be accomplished through a tracheotomy, in which a hole is made in the neck below the vocal cords, and a breathing tube inserted.

Prognosis; Complications

If the voice does not return by itself within a year, the condition is likely to become permanent.

If both vocal cords are paralyzed in the closed position, breathing difficulty may result.

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Vocal Cord Paresis:

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Vocal Cord Paresis / Paralysis:

Symptoms - Head - Mouth/Oral

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