Unilateral vocal cord paralysis can cause vocal changes. This usually results in a very weak, breathy voice. Patients frequently find they are unable to project their voice, nor are they able to sustain vocalization for any length of time. This is due to the fact that the paralyzed vocal cord is not able to move as it normally would. This allows air to escape from the lungs past the vocal cords and does not allow for normal vibration of the vocal cords, and therefore, the voice sounds weak and breathy. Vocal cord paralysis can be from a variety of causes, such as viral infection, neoplasms anywhere from the skull base to the mediastinum, cardiac disease, traumatic or post-surgical injury. Rehabilitation of the voice can be best accomplished with a variety of different techniques. One technique is medialization thyroplasty, in which a synthetic prosthesis is placed through the cartilage of the voice box to move the paralyzed vocal cord to a more midline position. This allows the non-paralyzed vocal cord to be able to move over and meet the other vocal cord, which has been moved into a midline position, thereby producing better phonation. This procedure generally requires the patient to stay over one night in the hospital and then usually some period of speech therapy afterwards to maximize benefit.
Dr. Gibbs is fellowship-trained in laryngology/voice disorders.
For additional information or to make an appointment, please contact River Cities Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists, P.L.L.C. at (304) 522-8800 or (800) 955-3277
Scott R. Gibbs, M.D.
Touma Ear and Balance Center
1616 13th Avenue, Suite 100
Huntington, WV 25701
304.522.8800 or 800.955.3277