Laryngeal microsurgery is vocal fold procedure performed with a microscope in the operating room with or without the use of a laser. Laryngeal microsurgery may be recommended to eliminate or reduce the size of benign vocal fold lesions/growths, for laryngeal biopsy, therapeutic injection (steroids), or for scarring resulting in narrowing of the airway.

Laryngeal Microsurgery Procedure

Laryngeal microsurgery is performed on a patient while they are under general anesthesia (patient completely asleep) with a very small breathing tube inserted by the laryngologist performing the surgery or an anesthesiologist. Your surgeon will place a metal laryngoscope to keep your mouth open to be able to precisely operate on your larynx. A microscope will then be brought into the surgical field and used to allow amazing magnification of the area of interest and so that the laryngologist can successfully complete your surgical procedure.

This surgery is typically an outpatient procedure without patients having to stay in the hospital. However, this depends on your overall health and type of procedure you are having. Depending on the type of laryngeal microsurgical procedure that you are having, you may need to rest your voice (no speaking/singing) for a period of time determined by your laryngologist. You can resume your normal diet following the procedure unless indicated otherwise by your laryngologist. 

Pain is fairly minimal after the surgery and can be usually controlled by acetaminophen or ibuprofen. On rare occasions, a narcotic pain medication may be prescribed if the surgery is extensive or prolonged. 

Pre- and post-operative images of a left true vocal fold cyst 
Pre operative Laryngeal Microsurgery example Post operative Laryngeal Microsurgery example

Potential Complications of Laryngeal Microsurgery 

As with any surgical procedure you may be subject to potential complications.  These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Dental injuries (injuries to your teeth or gums) 
  • Swelling, bruising and/or cuts of your lips, mouth and/or face and surrounding structures 
  • Injury to the eyes from laser 
  • Temporary and/or permanent numbness to the tongue 
  • Temporary and/or permanent weakness of the tongue 
  • Temporary and/or permanent change in taste 
  • Swelling of the floor of mouth or chin 
  • Jaw joint discomfort, pain, tightness, or dislocation 
  • Neck/spine discomfort or pain 
  • Temporary and/or permanent difficulty with swallowing 
  • Bleeding or infection 
  • Temporary and/or permanent persistent or worsening hoarseness 
  • The possible need for additional surgeries on the vocal folds 
  • Airway obstruction requiring a breathing tube or possibly a tracheotomy 
  • Burns to exposed skin (especially if a laser is used during your procedure) 
  • Airway fire (if a laser is used during your procedure)