Depending on the severity of your vocal cord paralysis and how much it affects your everyday life, your ENT specialist can offer different treatments options, including:
Voice therapy—Like physical therapy for an injured knee, voice therapy can help improve vocal function before having to consider surgery.
Surgery—The decision to have surgery depends on the degree of the symptoms, voice needs, position of the problem vocal cord, the outlook for recovery, and the cause of the problem, if known. There are two main types of surgical procedures to treat vocal cord paralysis:
- Vocal cord injection—A filling material is injected into the vocal cord to close the gap between your vocal cords. This can be done while you are awake (sometimes in your doctor’s office or in the operating room) or while you are asleep in an operating room. The duration of results will vary depending on the material injected.
- Laryngeal framework surgery (also called medialization laryngoplasty)—Your surgeon will make a small incision in your neck and insert an implant into your voice box to move your vocal cord toward the middle, helping both cords close and vibrate better. Commonly used implants include silastic blocks (silastic is a form of silicone gel) or Gore-Tex sheets. This procedure is often done under local anesthesia in the operating room, and the results are typically permanent.
If you suffer from vocal cord paralysis, your doctor will be able to guide you and find the best treatment options for your symptoms and needs.