A vocal fold cyst, or vocal cord cyst, is a benign or non-cancerous lesion which may cause hoarseness. Cysts are fluid or gel filled sacs that occur within the delicate layered structure of the vocal fold, interrupting the mucosal wave which is responsible for sound production. Cysts classically occur in the same portion of the vocal fold, regardless of the individual – near the midportion of the vocal fold.
Left vocal fold cyst. Note on the right vocal fold a reactive lesion and increased vascularity. This notes contact injury on the opposite vocal fold from the vocal fold cyst.
Vocal fold cyst surgery – Using a microscope and fine microscopic instruments are being used to separate the cyst from normal tissue.
Symptoms of a vocal fold cyst include primarily hoarseness. Other symptoms may include a sensation of throat discomfort causing the need for frequent throat clearing.
Vocal fold cyst surgery – The cyst is almost removed.
Vocal fold cyst surgery – Vocal folds after cyst removal.
Definitive treatment for a vocal fold cyst is surgical. A direct laryngoscopy in the operating room is an outpatient procedure. A laryngoscope is inserted in a patient’s mouth to expose the vocal folds. A microscope is then used to enhance the view of the vocal folds. Specialized microinstruments are used to cut the vocal fold surface and carefully remove the cyst. This is a very delicate procedure requiring magnification of anatomy and use of fine specialized instruments for removal of lesions. Following surgery voice rest and voice therapy is very important.
Occasionally, the symptoms associated with small cysts maybe able to be overcome with voice therapy alone. Post operatively voice therapy may also assist in optimizing sound production.