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Leukoplakia and Hyperkeratosis

What is Leukoplakia?

Leukoplakia is a pre-diagnostic term meaning “white plaque” which describes the appearance of a thick white substance that covers the vocal folds in diffuse patches, usually on the top surface of the vocal folds. The pathology of leukoplakia is variable, and may include both benign and malignant lesions.

What is Hyperkeratosis?

Hyperkeratosis is a layered buildup of keratinized cell tissue and is distinctive for its leaf-like appearance. It consists of an overgrowth of irregular margins on the vocal folds.

Both of these lesions are treated as cautionary signs for possible future malignancy. People who have such lesions should avoid exposure to tobacco smoke, chemical inhalants, and other irritants. Often, a biopsy will be conducted to determine the current pathology of these lesions.