Vocal cords can become damaged, weakened, or paralyzed by injury, age, medical condition, and overuse — affecting the ability to breathe, swallow, speak, or sing.
This surgical procedure allows the vocal folds to properly close together, improving the patient’s voice and minimizing the risk of choking, pneumonia, and other problems.
The procedure can involve general or local anesthesia:
- Procedures performed under general anesthesia take place in the hospital. While the patient sleeps, a scope inserted through the mouth allows surgeons not only to examine the vocal cords and throat but also to extract tissue for a biopsy, remove lesions from the vocal cords, or inject an appropriate filling agent to improve the vocal cords’ functioning during talking and swallowing.
- Procedures conducted under local anesthesia typically take place in an outpatient setting and are performed while the patient is awake. A fiber-optic camera is inserted into the nose to view the vocal cords. Local anesthesia is applied to the neck skin, and a needle is inserted into the neck and the affected vocal cord to inject the appropriate filling agent.