What is the treatment for paralyzed vocal cords?

Kenneth Altman, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)

Paralyzed vocal cords can result from tumors, some surgeries, or viral infections when the nerve supplying the vocal cord is damaged. Usually a paralysis prevents one of the vocal cords from opening and closing, which are necessary for allowing air into the lungs and keeping material out of the lungs. Having a hoarse, breathy voice or choking on liquids is usually the only sign of a vocal paralysis. When the cause of a paralysis is not known, a temporary material can be injected into the vocal cord, moving it over to better close the airway. This will make swallowing safer, and voicing stronger. Voice therapy can also help in preventing you from pushing the voice and accruing bad habits that would be difficult to unlearn. The vocal cord’s movement is observed for 6-8 months, by which time it may regain its function. If however the cord is still not opening and closing by that time, a more permanent material is used to move the cords into a better position for achieving opening and closure.

Continue Learning about Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) is also known as vocal cord asthma or paradoxical vocal fold motion. Your vocal cords are located at the top of your windpipe. Normal vocal cords open as you breathe in to allow air in to the lungs, an...

d when you breathe out, allowing air to flow out into the atmosphere. VCD occurs when your vocal cords obstruct airflow by closing or constricting together during breathing. Only a small opening remains for airflow when your vocal cords close. Vocal cord dysfunction results in asthma-like symptoms including wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. VCD is often mistaken for asthma because of the similar symptoms, but if you have VCD asthma medications will be ineffective. If you suspect you may have VCD talk to your doctor. Treatments include breathing exercises, speech therapy and relaxation techniques.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.