Vocal nodules, cysts and polyps
Experts at Duke's Voice Care Center use sophisticated diagnostic tools and the latest techniques to identify and treat vocal nodules, vocal polyps and vocal cysts. We treat adults and children who use their voice professionally and for every day activities. Our advanced training, skill and experience ensure you receive you the best possible treatment for non cancerous growths on your vocal cords. We improve your voice with vocal hygiene, voice therapy and surgery when necessary. Our goal is to quickly return you to your daily and professional activities.
Comprehensive care for vocal nodules, cysts and polyps
Voice over use, such as talking too loudly or too much, is often to blame for the nodules, cysts and polyps that can develop on your vocal cords. Constant coughing, acid reflux and allergies can also lead to these growths and bumps, which are like calluses on your vocal cords. If your profession demands you speak constantly and with a loud voice - as is the case with teachers, preachers, lawyers, and salespeople - you are greater risk. Singers are also at risk because of high vocal demands. The resulting vocal growths may cause your voice to become raspy, breathy, hoarse or nasally. Your voice may crack or cut in and out as the bumps prevent your vocal cords from vibrating normally. Left untreated, vocal nodules, cysts and polyps can lead to voice strain as you compensate for your injury.
Our voice care specialists work closely with you to determine the extent of your condition and treat it promptly and effectively. In some cases, surgery is needed to remove the growths. Our speech pathologists work closely with you to help you learn to relax your tight voice so you speak with less effort. This gives your vocal cords time to heal. Voice therapy can be an effective way to minimize voice strain and help restore your voice to normal. Voice therapy is very important after surgery to ensure your best voice.
Choose Duke to treat your vocal nodules, vocal cysts and vocal polyps because we offer:
- Voice disorder specialists. We are one of the few voice centers in the Southeast, with a comprehensive team of voice experts. Your team includes ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physicians who are laryngologists, a specialty that requires advanced training in voice disorders.
- Microsurgical expertise. Our ear nose and throat surgeons are highly skilled in microsurgery, which requires small incisions and tools used under magnification to remove vocal cysts and polyps to achieve the best voice results. Microsurgery techniques require a high degree of training and experience to minimize postoperative voice problems.
- Highly specialized speech pathologists. Your team also includes speech pathologists who undergo specialized training to evaluate and treat patients with voice problems.
- Trained singing voice specialists. Our singing voice specialists are experienced performers, singers, and singing teachers who understand the challenges of being a vocal professional. They bring empathy, clinical expertise, and an insider perspective to evaluating and improving your vocal health. They also provide specialized therapy to performers and singers.
- Occupational voice specialists. If your profession puts at risk for developing vocal nodules, cysts or polyps, we work with you to improve your voice and meet the demands of your job.
- Coordinated care. In addition to over use, vocal polyps may result from a variety of medical conditions, including allergies and asthma. We coordinate your care with the right specialists throughout our health system to ensure you receive the best therapies to minimize your symptoms, improve your voice, and optimize your recovery.
- Professional vocal performer services. We provide the highest level of expert care for all vocal performers, from elite professionals who need immediate voice care services to those who sing for enjoyment.
- Better treatment decisions. Our ongoing research ensures you receive the best care for your vocal nodules, polyps and cysts.
Improves your speaking voice technique, pacing, and vocal hygiene. You work with a speech pathologist who guides you through vocal exercises to improve breathing, reduce throat strain, find your optimal pitch and volume for strong, healthy speaking. We work with you to get your voice back and to meet your daily voice needs. Voice therapy can be customized for specific needs.
- Professional vocal performers. Vocal exercises and therapy improve your vocal range, endurance, and voice quality, while also helping heal vocal injuries and protect you against re-injury. Our singing voice specialists teach you to maintain vocal health as well as strategies to return you to your highest level of vocal performance, and perhaps even enhance it. We often work with high-level performers who need immediate vocal services.
- Occupational voice users. Your speech pathologist will help you evaluate how you use the voice at work every day. You will learn how to pace your voice to avoid injury from overuse, and learn how to speak in a strong voice without strain. You will learn good vocal hygiene, and how to use amplification to avoid voice injury from loud speaking.
- Children's voice therapy. We increase awareness about proper voice use, and encourage avoidance of harmful vocal behaviors such as yelling and screaming. Treating your child involves the whole family in order to implement good strategies at home.
A very small incision is made away from the vibrating edge of the vocal cord, and a "micro flap" of tissue is lifted so the cyst or polyp can be removed. This technique, also known as "phonomicrosurgery," reduces the risk of scarring, and promotes optimal voice outcomes. Voice therapy after microsurgery is essential for full recovery
Your laryngologist may prescribe medications to treat chronic cough, acid reflux, allergies and other medical problems that may contribute to voice disorders. When needed, your laryngologist will refer you to the appropriate specialist for further treatment of those conditions
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 of your medical conditions that can cause voice changes, such as surgeries and recent illness. A head and neck examination is performed. A visual examination of the voice box is also completed.
This visual exam evaluates how your vocal cords vibrate while you make sounds. A tiny camera attached to a small tube called an endoscope is inserted through your nose to the top of the throat. This camera uses a flashing strobe light to capture slow motion images of your vocal cords. You will be able to see these images, which are analyzed to reveal growths, stiffness, paralysis, irregular movements, throat strain, and incomplete closure of the vocal cords. Videostroboscopy is often essential to reach an accurate voice diagnosis.
Thorough singing voice evaluation assesses pitch and loudness range, vocal stamina, breath support, resonance, and register transitions. Singing specialists identify muscle tension that may be contributing to your voice problem, and evaluate vocal technique relative to your singing style. We also identify strategies to optimize your vocal hygiene and vocal pacing. If needed, we will advocate for your vocal health with directors, producers, tour managers, and other artistic personnel. If you are a performer and have an urgent need for a voice evaluation prior to a performance, please contact call 919-681-4984 to arrange a timely appointment.
Creates a visual display on a computer screen as you speak into a microphone. Allows you and your speech pathologist to see characteristics of your voice, including pitch, loudness, and vocal quality (including hoarseness and breathy voice). It is used to identify abnormalities, including subtle vocal problems that cannot be detected with the unaided ear. It may be repeated during treatment to monitor your progress. This exam is usually completed on your second visit.