Vocal Cord paralysis : Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment

 What is Vocal Cord paralysis?

Vocal cord paralysis (or vocal fold paralysis) may be a condition that affects however the vocal cords work. individuals with this condition will’t control the muscles that open and shut the vocal cords. Their inability to manage these muscles results from nerve damage. Many diseases and conditions can cause this sort of nerve damage.

Most often, just one vocal cord doesn’t work and they find it irresistible. Sometimes, this condition affects each vocal cords. vocal band paralysis causes issues with speaking and swallowing. If both vocal cords don’t work properly, dangerous respiration problems can occur.

What is Vocal Cord paralysis?
Vocal Cord paralysis

suppliers who are specialists in laryngology treat vocal band dysfunction with voice medical care and surgery. individuals with double vocal cord paralysis can have a hazardously slim airway and can typically would like a operation (tracheotomy or “trach”) to open the airway and facilitate with breathing.Vocal fold paralysis (also referred to as vocal cord paralysis) may be a voice disorder that happens once one or each of the vocal folds don't open or shut properly. Single vocal fold paralysis is a common disorder. dysfunction of both vocal folds is rare and may be life threatening.

The vocal folds are 2 elastic bands of muscle tissue situated within the vocal organ (voice box) directly on top of the trachea (windpipe) (see figure). Once you breathe, your vocal cords stay apart and when you swallow, they're tightly closed. Once you use your voice, however, air from the lungs causes your vocal folds to vibrate between open and closed positions.

If you have vocal fold paralysis, the unfit fold or folds could remain open, leaving the air passages and lungs unprotected. you'll have problems swallowing or food or liquids could accidentally enter the trachea and lungs, inflicting serious health problems.

  1. Nasal cavity

  2. Pharynx

  3. Larynx

  4. Trachea

  5. Bronchioles and smaller air passages

Medical terms

  • Vocal cord paralysis is a condition during which you will't manage the movement of the muscles that control your voice. It happens once the nerve impulses to your cartilaginous structure (larynx) are disrupted. This leads to palsy of the vocal fold muscles. vocal fold paralysis can create it onerous to talk and even breathe. That' as a result of your vocal cords, additionally referred to as vocal folds, do over simply manufacture sound. They also defend your airway by preventing food, drink and even your spittle from coming into your cartilaginous tube (trachea) and causing you to choke. Doable causes of vocal cord paralysis embody nerve harm throughout surgery, microorganism infections and bound cancers. Treatment for vocal fold palsy sometimes involves surgery, and typically voice therapy. 
  • Vocal cord paralysis occurs when the muscles in one or both vocal cords are suddenly paralyzed This can make it difficult for you to breathe talk and swallow The main symptoms of vocal cord paralysis include a weak voice and difficulty swallowing food or liquids The cause of vocal cord paralysis varies depending on its location Sometimes trauma is associated with this condition; however most cases occur due to nerve damage that reduces or prevents signals from reaching the larynx (voice box) According to MayoClinic.com injuries like choking or ingesting foreign objects can lead to vocal cord.

Vocal cord paralysis is an injury that affects the nerves that control the vocal cords The disorder occurs when there is a problem with one of the two recurrent laryngeal nerves which come out of either side of your spine and go to your brain as you swallow Vocal cord nerve problems cause hoarseness in your voice and are often due to injury or a tumor on one or both sides of your neck.

Symptoms Vocal cord paralysis

Your vocal folds are 2 versatile bands of muscle tissue that sit at the doorway to the cartilaginous tube (trachea). After you speak, the bands move and vibrate to create sound. The remainder of the time, the vocal cords are relaxed in an open position so you'll breathe. In most cases of vocal cord paralysis, only 1 vocal cord is paralyzed. dysfunction of each of your vocal cords could be a rare however serious condition. This will cause difficulties with speech and vital issues with respiratory and swallowing.

Signs and symptoms of vocal cord paralysis may include:

  • A breathy quality to the voice

  • Hoarseness

  • Noisy breathing

  • Shortness of breath

  • Loss of vocal pitch

  • Choking or coughing while swallowing food, drink or saliva

  • The need to take frequent breaths while speaking

  • Inability to speak loudly

  • Loss of your gag reflex

  • Ineffective coughing

  • Frequent throat clearing

When to see a doctor

If you have got unexplained harshness that lasts for quite two to four weeks, or if you notice any unexplained voice changes or discomfort, contact your healthcare provider.

Causes Vocal cord paralysis

Vocal cord paralysis can be caused by an injury to the head, neck, or chest; lung or thyroid cancer; tumors of the skull base, neck or breast; or infection (eg, Lyme disease). Vocal cord paralysis can occur in people with certain neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease, or after a stroke. In many cases, however, the cause is unknown. In vocal cord paralysis,  nerve impulses to the larynx are disrupted, leading to paralysis of the muscle. Healthcare providers are often unable to determine the exact cause of vocal cord paralysis.But some known causes may include:

  • Injury to the vocal cord during surgery. Surgery on or close to the neck or higher chest may end up in damage to the nerves that serve the voice box. Surgeries that carry a risk of injury embrace surgeries to the thyroid or ductless gland glands, esophagus, neck, and chest. 

  • Neck or chest injury. Trauma to the neck or chest may injure the nerves that serve the vocal cords or the voice box itself.

  • Stroke. A stroke interrupts blood flow in the brain and may damage the part of the brain that sends messages to the voice box.

  • Tumors. Tumors, each cancerous and noncancerous, can grow in or round the muscles, gristle or nerves dominant the operation of the vocal organ and may cause plica vocalis paralysis. 

  • Infections. Some infections, equivalent to Lyme disease, herpes and herpes, will cause inflammation and directly injure the nerves within the voice box. There' some proof that infection with COVID-19 might cause fold paralysis. 

  • Neurological conditions. Certain neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease, can lead to vocal cord paralysis.

Risk factors Vocal cord paralysis

Factors that may increase your risk of developing vocal cord paralysis include:

  • Undergoing throat or chest surgery. People who want surgery on their thyroid, throat or higher chest have Associate in Nursing increased  risk of plica nerve injury. Generally the respiratory tubes utilized in surgery or to assist you breathe if you're having serious metabolic processes will damage the vocal cord nerves. 

  • Having a neurological condition. People with certain medical conditions — love Parkinson' malady or MS — are a lot of people seemingly to develop fold weakness or paralysis. 

How do you live with a paralyzed vocal cord?

Living with a paralyzed vocal cord can be frustrating. There are several tricks you can use to help minimize the effects of your condition such as whispering and using electronic means like e-mail. While these methods will work in most cases they won't always work as effectively as speaking directly to someone face-to-face.

How long does it take for vocal cords to heal?

Your vocal cords are the most elastic and powerful muscles in your body When a person talks sings or screams the vocal cords vibrate which is what produces sound Vocal cord injuries can occur as a result of being exposed to extremely loud noises over an extended period of time The most common problems that occur with the vocal cords include polyps (growths on mucous membranes) nodules (small growths on the vocal cords) and voice loss due to laryngitis (inflammation).

How long is recovery from vocal cord surgery?

Recovery time can vary depending on the type of surgery used and the prognosis or expected results It could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for vocal cord surgery patients to fully recover During recovery it’s important that you limit your talk time and stick to activities that are easy on the voice This is also an ideal time to start practicing good speaking habits so that you can prevent any possible future problems with your voice.

Do vocal cords grow back?

No vocal cords do not grow back once they are damaged Vocal cord nodules and polyps can sometimes heal on their own without any medical treatment If a person is suffering from hoarseness of the voice or extreme difficulty with swallowing or if a physician has diagnosed that person as having vocal cord damage then surgery may be necessary to remove the damaged tissue In extreme cases where multiple operations have not corrected the problem the vocal cords must be removed completely in order to restore normal function.

Is Honey Good for laryngitis?

When a person has a sore throat or laryngitis there are several remedies that have been proven to ease the pain One of the traditional home remedies is honey Most people with sore throats know to take warm liquids and gargle with salt water but few know about the soothing effects of honey Honey has antibacterial properties that can assist in healing burns wounds and skin infections It also contains antioxidants which protect against free radical damage by removing toxins from the body Many people find relief from the discomfort caused by laryngitis when taking just a teaspoon of raw honey every hour until their symptoms subside This type of.

Can you recover from vocal cord paralysis?

Yes singers can recover from vocal cord paralysis or an injury to their voice box This happens when the muscles in the voice box become weak or paralyzed After a period of time without using the muscles in your voice box they will begin to atrophy and cause even more weakness If you are suffering from this condition your doctor may suggest speech therapy and/or physical therapy exercises for your vocal cords that may help restore it to normal function.

Complications Vocal Cord paralysis

Breathing issues related to vocal band palsy could also be so delicate that you simply} just have a hoarse-sounding voice, or they'll be so serious that they're life-threatening. As a result of vocal cord paralysis keeps the gap to the airway from fully opening or closing, different complications might embody choking on or eupneous (aspirating) food or liquid. Aspiration that results in severe respiratory illness is rare however serious and needs immediate medical care.

Diagnosis Vocal cord paralysis

Vocal cord paralysis is usually diagnosed by an otolaryngologist, a doctor who specializes in disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. He or she will ask  about your symptoms and when the problems started to  determine their cause. The otolaryngologist will also listen to your voice to detect shortness of breath or hoarseness. Using an endoscope, which is a tube with a light on the end, your doctor will look directly  at the vocal cords in your throat. Some doctors also use a technique called laryngeal electromyography, which measures  electrical impulses from the nerves in the larynx to better understand  areas of paralysis.Your doctor will likely ask about your symptoms and  lifestyle, listen to your voice, and ask how long you've had voice problems. To further assess your voice problems, the following tests may be performed:

  • Laryngoscopy. Your health care supplier appears at your vocal cords employing a mirror or a thin, versatile tube (known as a medical instrument or endoscope) or each. you will even have a take a look at known as videostrobolaryngoscopy. It uses a special scope that contains a small camera at its tip or a bigger camera connected to the scope' viewing piece. These special high-magnification endoscopes permit your care provider to look at your vocal cords directly or on a video monitor to see the movement and position of the vocal cords and whether or not one or both vocal cords are affected. 

  • Laryngeal electromyography. This takes a look at measuring the electrical currents in your larynx muscles. To try and do this, the health care supplier usually inserts little needles into the fold muscles through the skin of the neck. This test isn't wont to guide treatment, however it should offer your provider data regarding how well you'll recover. This test is most helpful once it's done between six weeks and 6 months when your symptoms begin. 

  • Blood tests and scans. Because a variety of diseases may cause nerve injuries, you would like extra tests to spot the explanation for the paralysis. Tests may embody blood work, X-rays, MRI or CT scans

Treatment Vocal cord paralysis

The most common treatments for fold palsy are voice medical care and surgery. Some people' voices can naturally recover someday throughout the primary year once diagnosed, that is why doctors typically delay surgery for a minimum of a year. Throughout this time, your doctor will probably refer you to a speech-language diagnostician for voice therapy, which can involve exercises to strengthen the vocal folds or improve breath management whereas speaking. You may conjointly learn the way to use your voice differently, for example, by speaking additional slowly or gaping your mouth wider once you speak. Many surgical procedures are available, counting on whether one or each of your vocal folds are paralyzed. The foremost common procedures modify the position of the vocal fold. These could involve inserting a structural implant or stitches to reposition the speech organ animal tissue and produce the vocal folds nearer together. These procedures sometimes lead to a stronger voice. Surgery is followed by further voice medical care to assist fine-tune the voice. Once both vocal folds are paralyzed, a surgical process could also be needed to help respiration. In an exceedingly tracheotomy, an incision is created within the front of the neck and a breathing tube is inserted through an opening, known as a stoma, into the trachea. instead of occurring through the nose and mouth, respiration currently happens through the tube. Following surgery, medical care with a speech-language diagnostician helps you learn the way to use the voice and the way to properly take care of the breathing tube.Treatment of vocal band palsy depends on the cause, the severity of symptoms and therefore the time from the onset of symptoms. Treatment may embrace voice therapy, bulk injections, surgery or a mixture of treatments. In some instances, you'll make a comeback without surgical treatment. For this reason, your health care supplier may delay permanent surgery for a minimum of a year from the start of your vocal band paralysis. However, operation with numerous bulk injections is usually done at intervals during the primary 3 months of voice loss. throughout the waiting amount for surgery, your supplier could recommend voice medical care to assist keep you from victimizing your voice improperly whereas the nerves heal.

Voice therapy

Voice medical care sessions involve exercises or different activities to strengthen your plica vocalis, improve breath management throughout speech, stop tension in other muscles around the paralytic vocal cord or cords, and defend your airway during swallowing. Occasionally, voice therapy is also the sole treatment you wish if your vocal cords were paralyzed in an exceedingly location that doesn't need extra bulk or repositioning.


If your plica vocalis dysfunction symptoms don't absolutely recover on their own, surgical treatments are also offered to enhance your ability to talk and to swallow. Surgical choices include:

  • Bulk injection. Paralysis of the nerve to your vocal band can in all probability leave the vocal cord muscle skinny and weak. to feature bulk to a paralytic vocal cord, a doctor who focuses on disorders of the larynx (laryngologist) could inject your vocal cord with a substance comparable to body fat, albuminoid or another approved filler substance. This accessorial bulk brings the affected vocal cord nearer to the center of your vocal organ in order that the alternative functioning and moving vocal cord will build closer contact with the paralyzed cord once you speak, swallow or cough. 

  • Structural implants. Instead of employing a bulk injection, this procedure — referred to as thyroplasty, medialization laryngoplasty or speech organ framework surgery — depends on the employment of an implant within the vocal organ to reposition the vocal cord. Rarely, those that have this surgery might have to possess a second surgery to reposition the implant. 

  • Vocal cord repositioning. In this procedure, a MD moves a window of your own tissue from the skin of your vocal organ inward, pushing the paralytic vocal band toward the center of your voice box. This enables your uninjured vocal cord to vibrate higher against its paralyzed partner. 

  • Replacing the damaged nerve (reinnervation). In this surgery, a healthy nerve is moved  from a unique space of the neck to interchange the broken vocal cord. It will take as long as nine months before your voice gets better. Some health care suppliers mix this surgery with a bulk injection. 

  • Tracheotomy. If each of your vocal cords are unfit and positioned closely together, your air flow is going to be decreased. This causes loads of hassle respiratory and needs a surgery known as a tracheotomy. 

  • In a tracheotomy, an associate degree incision is created within the front of your neck to form a gap in the cartilaginous tube (trachea). A respiratory tube is inserted, permitting air to bypass the vocal cords.

Emerging treatments

Linking the vocal cords to a different supply of electrical stimulation — maybe a nerve from another part of the body or a tool kind of like a pacemaker — might restore the gap and shut off the vocal cords that can't move. Researchers still study this and other options. 

Coping and support

Vocal cord palsy is frustrating and has an effect on your daily life. It will be exhausting to speak with alternative people. A healer can assist you develop the abilities you would like to communicate. Even though you're ineffective to urge back the voice you once had, voice medical aid can help you learn effective ways to create it. In addition, a speech-language medical specialist can teach you the way to use your voice while not inflicting more harm to the vocal cords.

  1. Rehabilitation of the tongue and pronunciation : Oral muscle rehabilitation

Preparing for your appointment

You're doubtless to 1st see your medical care supplier unless each vocal cords are paralyzed. Therein case, you'll probably first be seen in a very hospital emergency department. Once the initial assessment, you'll likely be told by a doctor who specializes in ear, nose and throat disorders. you'll even be referred to a speech-language diagnostician for voice assessment and therapy. It's useful to arrive well ready for your appointment. Here's some data to assist you prepare and what to expect from your care provider.

What you can do

  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.

  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent illnesses or life changes.

  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking, including the dose of each.

  • Ask a family member or friend to come with you, if possible. generally it may be tough to recollect all of the data provided to you throughout associate degree appointment. somebody who is with you will remember one thing that you just incomprehensible  or forgot. 

  • Write down questions to ask your provider.

Your time with your health care provider may be limited. Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. For vocal cord paralysis, some basic questions to ask your provider include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my vocal cord paralysis?

  • What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?

  • Is this condition temporary, or will my vocal cords always be paralyzed?

  • What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?

  • What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?

  • Are there any alternatives to the treatment that you're suggesting?

  • Are there any restrictions on using my voice after treatment? If so, for how long?

  • Will I be able to talk or sing after treatment?

  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask, don't hesitate to ask any additional questions that occur to you during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your health care provider is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • When did your symptoms start?

  • Did any special events or circumstances happen before or at the same time that your symptoms developed?

  • Have you received any treatment yet?

  • Have your symptoms been continuous or do they come and go?

  • How are your symptoms affecting your lifestyle?

  • Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?

  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?

  • Do you have any other medical conditions?

General summary

  1. If you find that your professional singing career is severely limited due to vocal trouble the best treatment for vocal cord dysfunction is surgery to reconstruct or remove damaged tissue from your voice box This moveable structure in your throat produces the sound of speech and singing by opening and closing like a pair of hot air balloons inflated by air escaping past them When they are not functioning properly they stiffen up and lose their ability to move at all.

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