Vocal Cord Nodules, Cysts, and Polyps

Experts at the Duke Voice Care Center use sophisticated diagnostic tools and the latest techniques to identify and treat vocal nodules, vocal polyps, and vocal cysts in adults and children. Our advanced training, skill, and experience ensure you receive the best possible care for these noncancerous growths on your vocal cords. We help you improve your voice with better vocal hygiene, voice therapy addressing the voice patterns that caused the lesions, and surgery when necessary. Our goal is to quickly return you to your daily and professional activities. Appointments available in Durham and Raleigh.

About Vocal Nodules, Cysts, and Polyps

Vocal nodules, vocal polyps, and vocal cysts are noncancerous growths or bumps like calluses on your vocal cords. They can cause your voice to sound raspy, breathy, hoarse, or nasal. Your voice may crack or cut in and out as the bumps prevent your vocal cords from vibrating normally.

Voice overuse -- such as talking too loudly or too much -- is frequently the cause of these growths, but they can also result from constant coughing, acid reflux, or allergies. If your profession demands you speak constantly and with a loud voice -- as with teachers, preachers, lawyers, and salespeople -- you are at greater risk for developing vocal cord nodules, polyps, or cysts. Singers are also at risk because of high vocal demands. Left untreated, vocal nodules, cysts, and polyps can lead to voice strain as you compensate for your injury.

In many cases, voice therapy can teach you how to use your voice more efficiently, without strain so your injury heals. In some cases, surgery is needed to remove the growths. After surgery, voice rehabilitation is essential to ensure your best vocal recovery.​

Why Choose Duke

You'll have access to one of the few comprehensive voice care centers in the Southeast and its team of voice experts. Our team of voice care specialists works with you to determine the extent of your condition and treat it promptly and effectively.

  • Your care team will include laryngologists -- ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctors with advanced training in voice disorders -- and speech-language pathologists who specialize in treating voice disorders.
  • Our ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeons have advanced training and experience in microsurgery, which employs small incisions and tools used under magnification to remove vocal cysts and polyps to achieve the best voice results.
  • We provide highly skilled voice therapy, an often-essential part of treatment that's not typically available at non-specialist ENT clinics.
  • Whether you are a professional vocalist who needs immediate voice care services or someone who sings for enjoyment, our singing and performing-voice services will provide you expert care. You'll work with clinical singing voice specialists -- speech pathologists who are also experienced performers, singers, and singing teachers and provide specialized therapy to singers and other performers.
  • If your profession puts at risk for developing vocal nodules, cysts or polyps, our occupational voice specialists will work with you to improve your voice and meet the demands of your job.
  • If your vocal polyps are related to another medical condition, such as allergies or asthma, we coordinate your care with other specialists to ensure you receive comprehensive treatment.
Reviewed: 02/22/2018



A comprehensive evaluation assesses your voice use patterns -- how much you speak, sing, or use a loud voice, and what your voice sounds like. Your laryngologist will evaluate the role of any medical conditions that can cause voice changes, such as surgeries or recent illness. We will perform a head and neck examination and a visual examination of your voice box. Tests may also be necessary to create an individualized treatment plan.

Patient resources

Reviewed: 02/22/2018
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