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Vocal Cord Ulcers and Granulomas

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The vocal folds are attached to joints made out of cartilage, called arytenoids. These joints can sometimes develop a small ulcer. The body heals these ulcers by forming a solid, fleshy growth over the ulcer, and this is known as a granuloma.

The ulcer may be caused by:

  • Coughing
  • Excessive voice use
  • Trauma from having a breathing tube placed during a surgery

It is a benign condition, though it can often be mistaken for a tumor, and it usually causes throat discomfort and hoarseness.

Medical treatment with acid reflux medication is usually effective. Surgery is usually not recommended for removal, as all this does is re-expose the ulcer. 

In rare, resistant cases, a Botox injection can temporarily weaken the vocal folds, preventing them from colliding with each other, and allowing the ulcer to heal.

Tests

Physical Exam
Your ENT doctor will complete a thorough physical exam and ask you questions to understand your history of breathing difficulties and voice changes.

Spirometry
This breathing test measures airflow and can help your doctor diagnose your VCD.

Laryngoscopy
During this procedure, your ENT doctor uses a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached to one end to closely examine your vocal cords for any abnormalities.

Treatments

Speech Therapy
Your ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor may recommend that you undergo speech therapy to help manage your VCD and reduce symptoms. In speech therapy, you will learn and practice techniques and exercises that will help improve your ability to speak and be understood.

Deep Breathing Techniques
Your ENT doctor may recommend that you learn and practice certain deep breathing techniques to help manage your VCD.

Medications
If your VCD is caused by another condition – such as GERD – your ENT specialist may prescribe medication to help treat that condition.


Why Choose UHealth?

Ranked No. 28 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.

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