Swelling Checks to Detect Vibratory (Overuse) Injury to the Surface Tissue (Mucosa) of the Vocal Cords

These are used to detect acute or chronic vocal fold mucosal injury reliably; Secondarily, they can also detect gaps between otherwise normal folds. They provide persons with a way to detect mucosal trouble for themselves. We are in effect “taking all of the clothes off the mucosa.” The swelling checks are for anyone who uses the voice extensively or vigorously—particularly vocal overdoers.

Open Epidermoid Cyst

An open epidermoid cyst occurs when it spontaneously ruptures, but yet not empty all of its contents (keratin). The outline of the partially-emptied cyst may still be very evident, but it usually assumes an oval shape with the long axis oriented anteriorly and posteriorly. If the cyst empties nearly completely, the white oval is no […]

Indicator Lesions

Indicator lesions are visual findings of vibratory injury in a person who has no current voice complaints, and whose “swelling checks” are normal. Background: Individuals who fit the “vocal overdoer profile” may only notice vocal limitations caused by vibratory injury on an occasional and transient basis. These episodes may be brushed off as insignificant, because […]

Submucosal Fibrosis

Submucosal fibrosis is 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. Surgery for Fibrosis, Polyp […]

Glottic Furrow

A disorder in which a furrow or groove is seen on the vocal cord, running parallel to, and at or just below, the cord’s free margin. This glottic furrow normally represents a defect in the underlying vocal ligament. Often, the deepest part of the furrow is lined with epithelium that is attached directly to thinned […]

Vocal Cord Bruising

The rupture of one or more capillaries in the vocal cords, so that blood leaks into the tissue. This vocal cord bruising occurs as a result of excessively vigorous mucosal oscillation, usually during extensive or vigorous voice use, aggressive coughing, or even a very loud sneeze, and it can make the voice hoarse or otherwise […]

Mucosal Edema or Swelling

Mucosal edema or swelling is the build-up of edema (tissue fluid) within the mucosa, the layer of tissue that lines the body’s interior. In the larynx, this build-up of edema usually occurs at the mid-point of the vocal cords, as the body’s response to vocal overuse, and it resembles a small, low-profile blister. Vocal overuse […]

Vocal Polyp

A large swelling on the vocal cord that typically occurs unilaterally—that is, without a similar swelling on the opposite cord. The term vocal polyp is somewhat imprecise, but vocal polyps can be distinguished from a similar kind of swelling, vocal nodules, in at least two ways: 1) polyps tend to be larger than nodules; 2) […]

Vocal Nodules

Small chronic swellings that appear in the junction of the middle and anterior thirds of the vocal fold. These swellings, or nodules (nodes), are vibratory injuries caused by vocal overuse. The most obvious symptom of medium-to-large nodules tends to be hoarseness. The top symptoms for nodules of any size may include: 1) difficulty with high, soft […]

Smoker’s Polyps

Diffuse swelling of the vocal cords, due to build-up of edema fluid within the mucosa. Smoker’s polyps are also referred to as Reinke’s edema or polypoid degeneration. Audio with photos: Voice sample of a patient with smoker’s polyps, BEFORE surgery (see this patient’s photos just below): Same patient, two months AFTER surgery (the occasional syllable dropouts […]