A vocal fold injection is a procedure in which a substance is directly injected into the vocal fold. This may be a filling agent such as collagen, or a medication such as a steroid. Vocal fold injections may be performed with a patient awake in an office setting instead of asleep in the operating room.
Vocal fold injections with filling agents are most commonly performed for conditions of paralysis and for treatment of the aging voice. They may also be performed for other causes of glottal insufficiency such as scar.
To perform a vocal fold injection, a patient’s throat is anesthetized using a medication such as lidocaine. An endoscope is used to visualize a patient’s larynx. An endoscope may be passed through the mouth or through the nose for visualization. A needle is then passed either through the mouth or through the skin and directed to the vocal fold. The injection is placed, usually with minimal pain to the patient and procedure is finished.
From start to finish a vocal fold injection usually takes ten minutes. Patients may be asked to not speak for a few days to allow the material to settle.