LEUKOPLAKIA

Leukoplakia is a descriptive term which means “white plaque”. Leukplakia may be present in the mouth, throat or on the vocal folds. Leukoplakia may cause symptoms such as hoarseness, or may be found incidentally during an examination.

If leukoplakia is noted during laryngoscopy and stroboscopy, it is important that it is closely observed and even biopsied if it does not resolve. Leukoplakia is due to keratin accumulation on the vocal fold.

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Leukoplakia or ‘white plaque’ noted on the vocal folds. This is due to accumulation of keratin and some of the time is associated with cellular abnormalities of the vocal folds

These abnormalities may include:

  • Dysplasia
  • Carcinoma in-situ
  • Cancer

Dysplasia, carcinoma in situ and cancer all describe abnormalities of cells, listed in order of severity. Dysplasia describes abnormality that is not cancer – however it may progress to cancer in time.

On average, approximately 50% of leukoplakia is associated with normal epithelium. However, 50% is associated with some abnormality, from dysplasia to cancer.

Management of laryngeal leukoplakia involves microlaryngoscopy and biopsy. A bisopy, or representative sample of the lesion, is obtained and processed to examine for abnormalities.

Depending on the diagnosis, treatments such as laser surgery or even additional microlaryngoscopies may be indicated. Lasers, such as the pulsed dye laser and KTP laser may be applied to a patient’s larynx for management of luekoplakia. This may be done in-office, in a minimally invasive fashion, or in the operating room. Close follow up may be recommended as well.

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Throatdisorder.com is an online resource for patients and physicians to learn more about common voice, swallowing, breathing and throat disorders. Throat complaints, from cough to cancer, are a common reason for patients to seek medical treatment. This website developed as a result of Dr. Sunil Verma's passions: that of education, patient care, and interest in technology.

NOTE : The information presented on this site is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified physician. It may not be appropriate to your individual case, and should not be used in making treatment decisions, especially with regard to medication. Considerable effort is made to ensure that the information on this site is accurate, but medicine is a changing field, and this website is not responsible for errors or omissions. Use of this website acknowledges the above.

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