Jefferson Health

Vocal Cord Nodules, Polyps & Cysts

Vocal cord disorders are often caused by vocal abuse or misuse, such as excessive use of your voice when singing, talking, smoking or yelling. Over time, repeated abuse of the vocal cords could result in vocal cord nodules that usually grow on each vocal cord or polyps, which can also appear on one or both of your vocal cords. The experienced otolaryngologists and certified vocologist of the Jefferson Voice and Swallowing Center will evaluate your condition and may suggest medication or surgery to remove the growths, or refer you to a speech-language pathologist who has specialized training in voice disorders.

Vocal cord nodules are noncancerous growths (small, callous-like spots) that become larger and stiffer the longer the vocal abuse continues. These benign growths may also be called growths or cysts and are accompanied with a hoarse, low and breathy voice.

Polyps first appear as soft, blister-like bumps (like nodules but larger). Also noncancerous, these growths are often caused by long-term smoking, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), hypothyroidism and/or continuous voice misuse.

Cysts are benign growths on the vocal cords that can affect the voice.

Professional voice users such as teachers, telephone operators, physicians, singers and actors depend on their voices in their vocation. That's why voice care at the Jefferson Voice and Swallowing Center is tailored to your acute needs and long-term goals. We offer an innovative program that requires only short periods of voice rest and allows professional voice users to plan an early return to work.