If nonsurgical treatment is not effective in alleviating hoarseness or vocal cord inflammation, your doctor may recommend one of two surgical options to remove a benign growth or scar tissue. Using sophisticated techniques and instruments, surgeons at NYU Langone can remove many benign lesions right in the doctor’s office.
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For the majority of people who need to have a benign vocal cord lesion removed, laser surgery is a convenient, safe, and effective treatment option. A voice specialist can evaluate whether you are a candidate for this procedure based on your medical history and the results of a physical exam and voice evaluation. Many small vocal cord lesions can be removed with laser surgery.
Laser surgery takes place in a doctor’s office and can often be done immediately after diagnosis, so you won’t need to make an additional appointment. In this procedure, the doctor applies a spray to your throat to numb the vocal cords before inserting a scope through the nose and down the throat. A laser embedded in the tip of the scope is used to eliminate the lesion with very high-energy beams of light.
This procedure is quick, and most people find it causes little if any pain. Because the laser can be applied with great precision and is specially designed to remove the lesion without any bleeding, there is a low risk of recurrence or side effects.
If a vocal cord lesion is large or positioned in an area that is difficult for your doctor to reach, a microlaryngoscopy may be performed to remove, or excise, the lesion. This procedure typically lasts 30 to 60 minutes and takes place in the operating room. General anesthesia is required.
During a microlaryngoscopy, your surgeon accesses your vocal cords through the mouth using a laryngoscope. This tool provides high-quality images that are magnified to show every detail of the vocal cords and surrounding areas. The surgeon then removes the lesion using tiny surgical instruments. No stitches are required, and you can expect to go home the same day.
After surgery, vocal cord dysfunction improves over time. Voice therapy is an important part of recovery. NYU Langone offers comprehensive postoperative care to make sure that your vocal cords heal fully and that your voice is restored to its optimal sound.
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