Vocal Cord Paralysis Treatment

Vocal cord paralysis treatment (Vocal Fold Paralysis Treatment)

Before vocal cord paralysis treatment is attempted it is very important to recognize partial or bilateral voice paralysis, diagnose underlying causes, and most importantly emergency care of difficulty breathing and loss of voice.

There are many causes of vocal cord paralysis that can be found by ENT Doctors specialized in treating voice problems so it is very important to be seen by a Voice Specialist promptly after symptoms of losing voice are appearing.

In the treatment of professional voice (singers, actors, performers, teachers) it is important to be seen by our ENT Doctors in New York at the NYU Voice Center immediately when there is a major change of voice - Please do NOT wait for a completely lost voice to seek our care. Oftentimes, results of treatment dramatically improve, and invasive procedures may not be needed if our ENT Doctors can see patients early enough. 

Vocal Cord / Vocal Fold Paralysis may be caused by surgeries of the thyroid and other head and neck procedures, throat cancer, and sometimes there are "idiopathic" causes of vocal cord paralysis. In such circumstances it's best to seek attention from a team of Voice Experts so that other causes can be approached that ENT Doctors may not be able to take care of themselves. Read more about our team of voice specialists at our voice clinic at NYU.

Vocal Cord Paralysis Treatment

Vocal Cord Paralysis Treatment will differ depending on whether there the vocal fold paralysis is on one side or both.

Treatment of Vocal Cord Paralysis on one side (Unilateral Vocal Fold Paralysis Treatment)

For unilateral vocal cord paralysis treatment the ENT Doctors and ENT Surgeons will perform various techniques to bring the paralyzed vocal fold to the center of the larynx and bring the normal vocal cord towards the relocated paralyzed cord. 

The various techniques of treating unilateral vocal cord paralysis depends on time since onset of the vocal cord paralysis. The sooner the paralysis of vocal cords is detected the better the chance that the paralyzed vocal cord can be relocated using a very reliable injection.
If there was too much time that has passed and the vocal cord is permanently paralyzed only a surgical option may help. Our ENT Doctors may also work with neurology surgeons to reinnervate the vocal cord from another nerve in the neck. Recovery time from such a procedure may be long and complicated but our Voice Specialists and Voice Rehabilitation experts will help along every step of the way.

Treatment of Vocal Cord Paralysis on both sides (Bilateral Vocal Fold Paralysis Treatment)

The most important part of treatment of bilateral vocal cord paralysis is immediate attention to correct difficulty breathing. Our ENT doctors' objectives would be to separate the paralyzed vocal cords away from each other to open up the airway and improve breathing while preserving as much of the vocal capabilities as possible.

In most circumstances, the procedure above would require a tracheostomy - surgical creation of a temporary hole in the neck so that the patient may breathe. Only trained ENT surgeons may determine if tracheostomy is required. Sometimes our ENT doctors see patients already after emergency situations when tracheostomies are created so it's very important to recognize the early signs of vocal cord paralysis, especially loss of voice.