Vocal cord, or vocal fold, paralysis is the name of a condition when one of our two vocal folds is immobile. Ordinarily, the vocal folds come apart to let air into the lungs and come together tightly when we speak, cough, or swallow. If one vocal fold is not working correctly, a person can typically experience a weak and breathy voice, as well as difficulty swallowing liquids. Much like a leaky valve, this is caused by the paralyzed vocal fold allowing too much air to pass through while talking or swallowing.
Our team will diagnose this by visualizing the vocal fold movement using an endoscope, either through the nose or mouth.
- Neck or chest surgery
- Recent intubation with a breathing tube
- Cancer (brain, lung, or thyroid)
- Viral infection
In some cases, however, the cause is unknown (idiopathic). Unless clearly related to a cause such as surgery or trauma, a CT or MRI may serve to rule out a tumor causing the paralysis.
Treatment for vocal fold paralysis has evolved over the years and ranges from surgical intervention to in-office injection to voice therapy. Timeframes for intervention have also advanced with patients being treated earlier than in the past.
Why Choose UHealth?
Ranked No. 9 in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. The ranking reflects the team’s dedication to excellence in research patient care and outcomes. Surgeons, audiologists, biomedical engineers, speech pathologists, researchers, and psychologists collaborate with many research programs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to deliver the best possible multidisciplinary care to pediatric and adult ear, nose, and throat patients.
Customized treatment from a multidisciplinary team. We work with you to understand your condition and your vocal goals so we can craft a customized treatment plan that makes the most sense for you. When therapy is needed, we develop a personalized therapy program based on your specific situation and tailored to your needs and goals. Our multidisciplinary team works alongside you for the long term to ensure that you receive comprehensive treatment and get your voice back.
World-class care in an academic health system. We are recognized throughout South Florida and the world as a leader in treating conditions and disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. Backed by one of the nation’s top universities, our team uses the latest technologies and research-driven expertise to provide you with superior, personalized care and the best outcomes.