Spasmodic Dysphonia

Spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is a neurological condition that affects the ability of the vocal folds to open and close smoothly and under fine motor control. There are two broad categories of spasmodic dysphonia. 

  • Adductor-type is more common and affects approximately 90% of SD patients.  Those afflicted with this condition have vocal folds that close inappropriately, clipping off the ends of words or sentences and causing a strangled or halting quality to the voice. 
  • Approximately 10% of patients have the abductor-type, characterized by the inappropriate opening of the vocal folds. This causes a breathy rush of air and the loss of the end of a word or sentence.

Spasmodic dysphonia is characterized as a focal dystonia (limited to a single muscle or small group) for which we have no reliable cure.  An “inappropriate” message is sent from the brain to the vocal folds, which cause their misbehavior. While we cannot yet interrupt this pathway, we are able to manage the symptoms of spasmodic dysphonia by using BOTOX® injected directly into the responsible muscles of the larynx (voice box).  The particular type of SD determines which muscle pair requires treatment. 

There are patients that have reported some improvement following various surgical procedures designed to treat spasmodic dysphonia, and a few who have even reported positive results with voice therapy alone. These patients, however, appear to be a minority, and the bulk of spasmodic dysphonia patients receive the greatest benefit from intermittent BOTOX® therapy. 

Make an Appointment

If you are suffering from spasmodic dysphonia (SD) call 716-WAKE or request an appointment online.

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Last Updated: 08-27-2014
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.