A disorder in which the attachment of the mucosa to the underlying vocal ligament appears to thicken and toughen, yet without creating any protrusion, such as one sees with nodules or polyps. The mucosa thereby becomes less flexible. Think of satin turning into canvas of a similar thickness.
Submucosal fibrosis (1 of 4)
Under standard light. Note the whitish appearance that is visible through the mucosa.
Submucosal fibrosis (3 of 4)
Under strobe light, closed phase of vibration. Shows imperfect match but no obvious protrusion.
Bilateral polypoid nodules (1 of 8)
Bilateral polypoid nodules in a person who has used his voice extremely strenuously for many years. Note the whitish “surround” of the polyps, due to a broader area of submucosal fibrosis. The area of fibrosis is indicated by black dotted lines.
Narrow-band lighting (2 of 8)
At greater magnification, and also under narrow-band light. The area of fibrosis is more clearly seen, now without the dotted lines.
Two weeks after surgery (5 of 8)
Less than two weeks after surgical removal of the polyps. The faint white zone of margin fibrosis is again seen. Compare with photo 1.
Phonation (6 of 8)
Phonation under standard light shows that vocal cord margins now match, and both margins blur; suggesting vibratory flexibility.
Margin fibrosis ( 7 of 8)
Closed phase of vibration, at ~ A4 (440 Hz), as seen under strobe light. Margin fibrosis seen best here, indicated by the black dotted line. Compare with photo 3.
Submucosal fibrosis (1 of 3)
Middle-aged man who works in sales and also uses voice aggressively during regular athletic activity. Voice is raspy and variable. Note here "plaques" of white material that appear to be submucosal and extend beyond the obvious areas (dotted lines). No erythematous "surround" such as would be seen with candida.
Closed phase (2 of 3)
Closed phase vibration, strobe light at F4, again showing submucosal fibrosis.
Extroverted elementary teacher (1 of 6)
Elementary teacher and major extrovert is grossly hoarse. Here you can see the fibrotic-appearing injuries bilaterally and an extra translucent polypoid component on the left cord (right of photo).
Submucosal fibrosis (2 of 6)
Under narrow band light, the white area is not hazy leukoplakia, but instead submucosal fibrosis, deposited as a protection against mucosal vibratory collision/ shearing injury.
Open phase (4 of 6)
Open phase of vibration with small amplitude and absent “mucosal wave” due to stiffness of the mucosa.
Post microsurgery, open phase (5 of 6)
A week after vocal cord microsurgery, voice is markedly improved. No attempt was made to remove all of the fibrosis, but only to straighten the vocal cord margins. Open phase of vibration at F5.