A vocal fold web is a band of tissue that extends from one vocal fold to the other. Glottic webs can be asymptomatic, or prevent proper motion of the vocal folds. When webs are large they can block some of the airway, causing shortness of breath.
Vocal fold webs can be congenital, meaning a person is born with a web. Webs can occur as a result of trauma or surgery as well.
Symptoms of a glottic web may include:
Shortness of breath
Diagnosis of a glottic web is made with laryngoscopy and stroboscopy.
Treatment of a web may be observation if it does not cause any symptoms. If there are symptoms, surgery may be indicated. This may include laryngoscopy with use of a laser to cut the web. Following this, a keel, or type of stent, may be placed to prevent the web from reforming. The keel is removed at a later date.
A laryngofissure is a surgery in which the larynx, or voice box, is opened from the front like a book on its spine. The web is cut and sometimes tissue from another part of the body is used to reline the vocal folds. A keel may be placed in this situation as well.