Parkinson’s Disease-Related Voice Change

Voice change that accompanies Parkinson’s disease (PD) typically has two components. One component is a change to the “inner engine” of the voice. It is as if the inner motivation or vitality of communication or voice is damped down; think of the “motor” being limited mostly to “idle” rather than “first, second, third, and fourth” […]

Forme Fruste Wegener’s Granulomatosis

An incomplete or frustrated form (forme fruste) of Wegener’s granulomatosis,* which we believe to be the cause behind some cases of inflammatory subglottic or tracheal stenosis. Unlike full-fledged Wegener’s, this forme fruste variant may or may not necessarily involve the sinus and nasal cavities, and in the author’s caseload of about 60 patients, it has […]

Phases of swallowing

The different phases that together make up the act of swallowing. Actually, swallowing is a rapid and seamless act, and dividing that act into distinct phases is somewhat arbitrary. But one simple scheme for the phases of swallowing, among many that have been codified, would be: Oral preparatory phase: food is masticated (chewed), mixed with […]

Inspiratory Phonation

Inspiratory Phonation occurs when voice is produced using inhaled air. By contrast, normal voice production uses exhaled air. Voice production with inhaled air is often involuntary or unintentional—for example, a gasp of surprise, or with a person whose vocal cords are scarred or paralyzed in a nearly closed position. Inspiratory phonation is also more limited […]

Videoendoscopic Swallowing Study (VESS)

A videoendoscopic swallowing study is an evaluation of a person’s swallowing ability by means of a video-documented exam, looking from inside the throat.

Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Study (VFSS)

An x-ray-based method of evaluating a person’s swallowing ability. The videofluoroscopic swallowing study (VFSS) is also sometimes called the modified barium swallow, or the “cookie swallow.” In a radiology suite under fluoroscopy (which creates moving rather than still x-ray images), the patient is asked to swallow barium in thin liquid and paste consistencies, and then […]


A condition in which abnormal proteins (called amyloids) become deposited in the spaces between cells. In some cases, the cause of amyloidosis is a systemic disorder in which the body over-produces proteins—for example, multiple myeloma, a blood disease; in this scenario, the amyloid deposits can be dispersed widely across the body. In other cases, the […]

Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD): Definition and Treatments

A non-life-threatening neurological disorder in which the muscles of the larynx involuntarily spasm and interfere with the voice. Spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is a focal dystonia, in this case involving the larynx—i.e., laryngeal dystonia. Laryngeal dystonia typically affects the voice, but can occasionally also affect breathing (respiratory dystonia). The term spasmodic dysphonia refers specifically to voice-affecting […]

Hypopharyngeal Stenosis

Narrowing of the entrance to the upper esophagus, at the junction of the throat and esophagus. Hypopharyngeal stenosis is a possible but uncommon complication for individuals with larynx or pharynx cancer who undergo radiation therapy as part of their treatment regimen. Hypopharyngeal Stenosis Dilation for Post-Radiation Hypopharyngeal Stenosis Esophageal Stenosis from Radiation Videos: can’t […]

Vocal Cord Paresis

Vocal cord paresis is the partial loss of voluntary motion for one or more of the muscles that move the vocal cords. Paresis is to be distinguished from paralysis, which refers to a complete loss of motion. Sometimes, however, the terms “paralysis” or “paralyzed” are used less precisely to encompass any kind of loss of […]