Benign Vocal Fold Lesions
All patients with hoarseness lasting longer than three weeks should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist. Our responsibility is to verify that there is not a problem with the vocal folds that could be dangerous (cancer). Fortunately, in the majority of cases we find a benign vocal fold lesion which might be a cyst, nodule, or polyp. While there are other benign vocal fold lesions, these three are the most common. Each requires a slightly different approach to obtain the best possible voice outcome. Nodules for example tend to respond best to antireflux medications and ongoing voice therapy. Cysts and polyps often require surgical intervention in order to resolve completely, but these patients to benefit from reflux control and voice therapy. Cysts tend to be comprised of an accumulation of mucous or skin-like debris encased in a small sac within the vocal fold. Polyps tend to sit on the surface of the vocal fold and often have an abnormal blood vessel as the root cause. Regardless, with appropriate treatment you can expect complete resolution of these three characteristic benign vocal fold lesions.