The term benign vocal cord lesion refers to a group of noncancerous (benign), abnormal growths (lesions) within or along the covering of the vocal cord.

The 3 most common types of vocal cord lesions are cysts, nodules and polyps.

  • Vocal Cord Nodules – appear on both sides of the vocal cords and often diminish or disappear when overuse of the area is stopped.
  • Vocal Cord Polyps – typically occurs only on one side of the vocal cord and, depending on the nature of the polyp, can cause a wide range of voice disturbances.
  • Vocal Cord Cysts – a firm mass of tissue contained within a membrane (sac). As with vocal cord polyps and nodules, the size and location of vocal cord cysts affect the degree of disruption of the vocal cord.

Vocal Cord Lesion Symptoms

A change in voice quality and persistent hoarseness are often the first warning signs of a vocal cord lesion. If you have had hoarseness that lasts longer than 3 weeks, you should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist.

Vocal Cord Lesion Treatment

Each type of vocal cord lesion requires a slightly different approach to obtain the best possible outcome. Nodules, for example, tend to respond best to anti reflux medications and ongoing voice therapy. Cysts and polyps often require surgical intervention in order to resolve completely, but these patients also benefit from reflux control and voice therapy.