Jefferson University Hospitals

Vocal Fold Medialization

Vocal cord weakness or paralysis can be temporary or permanent. It can result in mild hoarseness or complete loss of any usable voice. Some patients also experience swallowing problems due to vocal fold paralysis. Vocal fold weakness or paralysis can be corrected by vocal fold medialization.

What Does Vocal Fold Medialization Involve?

During this procedure, the paralyzed vocal fold is pushed to the middle so that the functioning vocal fold can close as necessary for normal voice and swallowing. Performed by specialists in voice and swallowing at Jefferson, this procedure improves both voice quality and the ability to swallow liquids.

There are two ways a vocal cord medialization can be performed:

  • Injection of material. Our head and neck surgeons inject a material into the paralyzed vocal fold – either through the mouth or through the neck skin – that fills the vocal fold and pushes it to the middle. This can be done as an inpatient or outpatient procedure. At Jefferson, we have access to a variety of injectable implant materials that can provide both short-term and long-term correction.
  • Surgery. A thyroplasty involves permanently placing an implant through an external incision to move the vocal fold into proper position. This is usually performed under local anesthesia as an outpatient procedure.