Changes in Voice
Changes in voice may occur in the different medical conditions or due to prolonged overuse of vocal cords. Hoarseness is the leading symptom of almost all problems with vocal cords. The voice can additionally change in quality and become breathy, raspy or strained. Its volume and intensity may change as well. Changes in voice can affect professional singers or they occur due to some serious conditions such as laryngeal cancer.
People who have developed hoarseness instantly assume they are suffering from laryngeal cancer. The particular group which should worry about this malignant disease includes chronic alcoholics and heavy smokers. Hoarseness can, however, be caused by numerous conditions such as infections or paralysis of vocal cords and only if it lasts longer may point to tumors.
The doctor will exam a patient and his or her throat. Particular attention is given to the examination of the vocal cords. Visualization of the vocal cords can be successfully obtained by laryngoscope. Stroboscopy is a method which provides with sufficient information about the condition and movements of the vocal cords. Rigid and flexible fiberoptic scopes are the perfect instruments which help the doctor in both, examination of the vocal cords and taking of the biopsy of the suspicious tissue.
Vocal Cord Surgery
Surgery is not performed in all medical condition which affect the vocal cords. Some illnesses such as viral infections are treated conservatively. The surgical approach is left only for rather serious medical conditions and those which cannot be treated conservatively or do not respond to medications, changes in diet or vocal behaviors. In people whose hoarseness originates from overuse of the voice simple rest will provide with alleviation of the symptoms.
The vocal cords are surgically treated in several conditions.
Polyps of vocal cords are benign tumors which most commonly lead to hoarseness. They can affect professional singers or be hereditary. No matter what the cause is all the polyps are surgically removed. In some cases polyps are actually precancerosis and their removal successfully prevent laryngeal carcinoma.
Surgery is additionally performed in cancer of vocal cords. Depending on the stage of the disease a surgeon may remove only one vocal cord or both of them. In advanced stages the entire larynx as well as cervical lymph nodes is resected.
Paralysis of vocal cords is another medical condition which requires surgical repair. There are several surgical approaches which provide with desirable results.
People who suffer from hoarse voice must pay attention to this symptom. It may be caused by simple infection or it can be a sign of a more serious disease. This is why hoarseness lasting more than two weeks needs to be taken seriously and reported as soon as possible.