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Vocal Cord Polyp Treatment - Diagnosis & Recovery

Any growth in the vocal cords can affect the voice quality. Book an appointment with expert ENT specialists for advanced vocal cord surgery treatment near you.

Any growth in the vocal cords can affect the voice quality. Book an ... Read More

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  • What is vocal cord surgery?

    Vocal cord polyps are benign lesions and growths that are located on the surface of the vocal cords. They are often confused with vocal cord nodules, as both occur after chronic abuse of the voice box. Most nodules form because of the overusing or misusing of the vocal cords. 

    Polyps are more common in men than women and are almost always due to either chronic or acute overuse of the voice. Polys can range in size and shape from a blister to stalk-like growth, but they are generally found on just one side of the vocal fold. 

    They are often common among professional singers. They grow in pairs on the parts of the vocal cords that meet and vibrate when you are speaking or singing. They are generally small and resemble callous.  

    • Disease name

    Vocal Cord Polyps

    • Surgery name


    • Duration

    30 minutes - 1 hour

    • Treated by

    ENT Specialist

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    Type of Vocal Cord Polyp

    Different types of vocal cord polyps are as follows:

    • Vocal cord polyps: It usually appears on only one vocal cord. However, in some patients, they can develop on both cords. They occur in different shapes and sizes but tend to be larger than nodules. They often look a bit like blisters. Polyps tend to have more blood vessels as compared to nodules.
    • Vocal cord cysts: A vocal cord cyst is a firm mass of tissue contained within a membrane and is usually located near the surface of the vocal cord or deeper, close to the vocal cord ligament. The extent to which it affects the voice depends on the location and size of the polyp. These cysts are less common as compared to nodules and polyps.  

    Vocal cord nodules: It is also referred to as screamer’s nodes or singer’s nodes. These nodules typically develop on both sides of the vocal folds, usually at the midpoint. These growths resemble calluses. Sometimes they are associated with abnormal vasculature. 

    Are you going through any of these symptoms?

    Vocal Cord Polyp Diagnosis

    A healthcare provider usually suggests a variety of diagnostic tests to understand the severity of the condition and to identify any underlying health condition that may complicate the treatment. Some common diagnostic tests are as follows:

    • Laryngoscopy: During this test, a doctor places a spaghetti-like camera into the nose and down the throat. This provides a look at the voice box or larynx.   
    • Stroboscopy: In this test, a small, thin, flexible endoscope with a camera is gently inserted through the nose to the area in the back of the throat above the vocal cords. This test evaluates the motion of the vocal cords where there are concerns regarding the strength, pitch, and quality of the voice.  
    • Micro laryngoscopy: It is a rare test performed under the influence of anesthesia. It is performed to take an even closer look at the vocal cords and is reserved for more confusing or difficult-to-treat cases. 

    Vocal Cord Polyp Treatment Options

    Vocal cord polyps treatment option depends on the severity of the condition. In some cases, voice therapy and medication can help relieve the symptoms. If you are experiencing the symptoms of vocal cord poly, then you must consult your healthcare provider for a detailed diagnosis and to understand the severity of the condition.  In severe cases, a doctor usually suggests surgical removal of polyps.

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    Surgical Vocal Cord Polyp Treatment

    Some common surgical vocal cord polyps treatments are as follows:

    • Laser vocal cord surgery: The surgery involves the use of a laser to remove vocal cord lesions, tumors, polyps, etc. It usually takes about 60-90 minutes and provides the best outcome for the surgery.
    • Laryngeal framework surgery: During this surgery, the surgeon modifies the cartilages attached to the vocal cords to provide better cord vibration and tension to improve the quality of voice. The surgery is performed under local anesthesia so that the patient can provide regular feedback regarding their voice as their voice is being adjusted.
    • Vocal cord injections: This procedure involves the injection of collagen and other gel fillers to treat temporary vocal cord conditions like paralysis, muscle weakness, etc.
    • Laser endoscopic cricopharyngeal myotomy: This surgery is performed in case of severe dysphagia and involves muscular reconstruction of the vocal folds.

    Benefits of Surgical Vocal Cord Polyp Treatment

    Vocal cord surgery is the most effective and minimally invasive treatment for the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of vocal fold lesions, such as cancer, cysts, papilloma, polyps, and Reinke’s edema. It also provides effective management for acute or chronic trauma to the vocal cords. 

    Most patients also need surgery intervention if they have dysphonia (poor voice quality), dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), or stridor (abnormal, high-pitched, musical breathing sound) due to airway obstruction.

    Long-term benefits of vocal cord surgery are:

    • Restoration of vocal strength and quality
    • Long-term treatment of vocal cord lesions
    • Treatment for damaged voice nerves and tissues
    • Change of vocal tone and pitch for transgender people

    Preparation before Vocal Cord Polyp Surgery

    The surgery can be a little complex and can potentially lead to severe ramifications for the patient’s everyday life. Therefore, before the surgery, every patient should be given thorough education regarding the risks and benefits of the surgery. If you are a smoker, then you must quit the habit to ease the hoarseness and irritation of the vocal folds. You must rest your voice and avoid eating foods that can cause acidity.

    Recovery After Vocal Cord Polyp Treatment

    The recovery time of vocal cord surgery can vary depending on the individual and the extent of the surgery. Generally, most people can return to normal activities within a week or two, but it may take several weeks for the voice to recover fully. Therefore, it is crucial to follow the post-operative instructions provided by the surgeon and avoid activities that may strain the vocal cords, such as singing or speaking loudly, until cleared by the surgeon. Attending all scheduled follow-up appointments is also essential to monitor the healing process.

    Risk & Complications Associated with Vocal Cord Polyp Surgery

    The surgery is performed very carefully and with minimal cuts to ensure no damage occurs to the oral or vocal tissues, however in some cases, it can result in complications like:

    • Temporary numbness or tingling sensation in the tongue
    • Damage to the teeth
    • Vocal fold scar
    • Breathing problems
    • Permanent change in the voice
    • Allergic reaction to the anesthesia
    • Infection 

    Lifestyle Changes After Vocal Cord Polyp Surgery

    After vocal polyp surgery you must adopt some lifestyle changes to promote healing after surgery:

    • Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol
    • Avoid extremes such as yelling, singing, throat clearing, talking for a long period of time without a break.
    • Avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise.
    • Take vocal breaks. For 20 minutes of use, take a 10 minutes break.
    • Contact your healthcare provider if you experience any pain, fatigue, or hoarseness.
    • Take all the medications prescribed by your healthcare provider. Medications help your vocal folds to heal by eliminating any irritating acid exposure from your stomach that often occurs. 
    • Place visual reminders of your good voice use habits around your office, home, and in the car. 

    Cost of Vocal Cord Polyp Surgery

    The average cost of vocal cord polyp surgery in India is INR . This is the estimated cost of surgery, the final cost can vary depending on various factors, including

    • Consultation fee,
    • Cost of diagnostic tests
    • Cost of hospitalization
    • Cost of anesthesia
    • Cost of medication
    • Cost of voice therapy
    • Follow-up consultations

    Non-Surgical Treatments of Vocal Cord Polyp

    Home remedies

    • Suck on lozenges

    Throat lozenges help add moisture to your throat and may relieve pain. They can be medicated or nonmedicated and may assist with numbing pain, killing germs, or reducing redness. Children under 4 years old shouldn’t be given lozenges.

    • Rest your voice

    When you have laryngitis, your vocal cords are swollen and irritated. They need time to heal. Try to avoid situations that require a lot of talking or shouting so you can rest your voice. If you have to talk in a meeting or in front of a group, avoid the natural temptation to strain your voice further to be heard. Try calling into a speakerphone that can be turned up or using another amplifying device. Use your voice as infrequently as you can. Try and avoid whispering as this can put additional strain on your larynx.

    • Gargle warm salt water

    You can soothe a sore and irritated throat with warm salt water. Mix salt with warm water, take a sip into your mouth, and gargle it around the back of your throat, then spit it out. Repeat as often as necessary.

    • Add moisture with a humidifier

    Breathing dry air can irritate your throat and contribute to inflammation of your vocal cords. This is especially common in the winter when heating units pump dry air into your home and office. A humidifier or vaporizer will add healing moisture to the air and help loosen phlegm. It’s important to clean humidifiers regularly. If you don’t have a humidifier, you can leave bowls of water out to add moisture to the air.

    • Apple cider vinegar

    Studies suggestTrusted Source apple cider vinegar may have antimicrobial properties. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates recommended a drink called oxymelTrusted Source to help soothe a sore throat. It’s made by mixing fermented vinegar, honey, water, and other herbs and fruits. But more evidence is needed to confirm if apple cider vinegar is effective as a remedy for sore throats and laryngitis.

    • Tea with honey

    There’s nothing more soothing for an irritated throat than a warm cup of tea. Plus, tea can do a lot more than soothe. Studies suggest compounds found in teas such as green tea are believed to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Supercharge your tea with the healing powers of honey. Research suggests Trusted Source that honey reduces mucus production and treats coughs as effectively as over-the-counter medications.

    • Slippery elm tea with lemon

    Slippery elm tea is made from the ground and dried bark of the slippery elm tree. It’s long been used in Eastern and Native Indian herbal medicine to treat inflammation of the upper airways. It may be useful for soothing a sore throat, but more evidence is needed. Add lemon to your tea for an extra immune boost. Research suggestsTrusted Source that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant.

    • Ginger root

    Ginger root has many health benefits. Studies suggestTrusted Source has antimicrobial properties, which may be beneficial for infections. But if taken in large quantities, ginger may also cause unwanted side effects such as irritation to your throat and mouth.

    • Products containing essential oils

    Essential oils contain the natural chemicals that give plants their essence (smell and flavor). Eucalyptus tree products are also found in many over-the-counter medications, including lozenges and creams such as Vicks VapoRub. Studies suggest eucalyptus oil may have antimicrobial properties against both bacteria and viruses. But more research is needed to determine how useful eucalyptus oil may be.

    • Garlic

    Throughout history, many different cultures have used garlic for the treatment and prevention of disease. Studies suggest that garlic supplements may reduce symptom severity and duration of illness as well as the number of colds and flu you experience. But more research is needed to determine the efficacy of garlic.

    • Gargle diluted vinegar

    Vinegar has been used for thousands of years to fight infections. Research suggestsTrusted Source vinegar has antimicrobial properties.  But more research is needed to determine if gargling with diluted vinegar will help the symptoms of laryngitis.

    What Happens If Vocal Cord Polyp Left Untreated?

    If vocal cord polyps are left untreated, then they can lead to further strain on your voice and can injure vocal cords. Often nodules improve with voice therapy and behavior modifications. But in severe cases, surgery is required to avoid further complications. You must consult your healthcare provider for a detailed diagnosis to understand the severity of the condition.

    Questions to Ask Your Surgeon Before Treatment

    Before treatment, it is important to ask the following questions to your surgeon to have a better understanding of the procedure and the risks and complications associated with it:


    • Can vocal polyps result in permanent damage?
    • Can vocal polyps become cancerous?
    • What are the home remedies for vocal polyps?
    • Is vocal polyp surgery painful?
    • What are the chances of vocal polyp recurrence after the surgery?
    • What are the potential risks and complications of vocal polyps surgery?
    • What is the common cause of vocal polyps?
    • Are vocal polyps serious?
    • What are the risk factors for vocal polyps?
    • What is the best treatment option for vocal polyps?
    • What is the success rate of vocal polyps surgery?
    • Are vocal polyps lifelong?
    • What is the recovery period after vocal polyps surgery?
    • What precautions should I need to take to recover quickly after surgery?
    • What are the advantages of vocal polyps surgery?

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do vocal cord polyps need to be removed?

    It depends on the size of the polyps. If polyps are left untreated, they can lead to voice strain. In some cases, surgery is needed to remove the growths.

    How do you treat vocal cord polyps?

    The treatment option for vocal cord polyps depends on the severity of the condition. In most cases,  voice therapies and medications can improve the condition. If the polyps are large in size, then it may require surgical removal. 

    How do you treat vocal polyps at home?

    Some common home remedies for vocal polyps are as follows:

    • Breathe, moist air
    • Rest your voice as much as possible
    • Drink plenty of fluids
    • Moisten your throat

    What are the symptoms of vocal polyps?

    The common symptoms of vocal polyps are as follows:

    • Hoarseness
    • Breathiness
    • Vocal fatigue
    • Loss of voice
    • Loss of vocal range
    • A harsh, raspy, or scratchy voice
    • Frequent coughing, throat clearing, or general fatigue

    What are the risk factors for vocal cord nodules?

    Some common risk factors for vocal cord nodules include,

    • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
    • Abnormal thyroid function, especially hypothyroidism
    • Frequent allergies
    • Long-term smoking
    • Excessive alcohol intake
    • Excessive caffeine intake
    • Inhalation of irritants, such as industrial chemical fumes
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    Dr Nikhil Jain
    12 Years Experience Overall
    Last Updated : July 5, 2024

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