The most common treatments for vocal fold paralysis are voice therapy and surgery. Some people's voices will naturally recover sometime during the first year after diagnosis, which is why doctors often delay surgery for at least a year. During this time, a
Several surgical procedures depending on whether one or both of the vocal cords are paralyzed. The most common procedures change the position of the vocal fold. These may involve inserting a structural implant or stitches to reposition the laryngeal cartilage and bring the vocal folds closer together. These procedures usually result in a stronger voice. Surgery is followed by additional voice therapy to help fine-tune the voice:
• Functional procedures as microflap, laryngectomy (similar to tracheostomy) with subsequent cricoidotomia (removal of the cricoid cartilage) and cartilage graft and stent (or stent placement only) or reconstruction of the local mucosa with scar removal.
• Tracheotomy: May be required to help breathing. In a tracheotomy, an incision is made in the front of the neck and a breathing tube is inserted through an opening, called a stoma, into the trachea. Rather than occurring through the nose and mouth, breathing now happens through the tube. Following surgery, therapy with a speech-language
• Permanent treatments with removal of the vocal cords (unilateral or bilateral) or the arytenoid cartilage (endoscopic or external, partial or complete) or changing the position of the vocal cords.
Other treatment may include:
• Reinnervation techniques (experimental)
• Electrical stimulation (experimental).
Most cases of unilateral vocal cord paralysis do not need any treatment. Adopting a vertical position is sometimes enough to relieve breathing problems but in some patients it may require an intubation.
Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.
These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.
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