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Polyps

What is a polyp?

A vocal fold polyp is a benign, fluid filled lesion which can be found unilaterally (one sided) or bilaterally (two sided) on the vocal folds. Most polyps tend to be unilateral. Polyps may appear blister like (sessile) or may appear to be attached by a stalk (pedunculated). Like nodules, vocal fold polyps are thought to be caused by trauma to the vocal folds. In the case of polyps, acute vocal trauma (i.e. yelling at a concert one night) is thought to be a possible cause as opposed to prolonged trauma (long term voice misuse).

What are the symptoms of polyps?

Vocal symptoms of polyps can vary greatly. Depending on their size, location, and type (sessile vs. pedunculated), a poyps can cause symptoms that range from mild hoarseness to severe voice impairment. 

How are polyps treated?

Unlike nodules, polyps often require surgery. However, voice therapy can occasionally resolve a polyp, specifically if a polyp is new, soft, and small. Voice therapy is often recommended initially to decrease inflammation surrounding a polyp and improve negative voice habits that may have caused a polyp to form in the first place. Post-surgical voice therapy is almost always recommended as well to limit the chances of a polyp re-occurring and to aid in proper reformation of vocal habits.