Vocal cord paralysis, unilateral

Neurogenic inability of one vocal cord to move. Unilateral vocal cord paralysis is associated with weak voice of a degree that can vary between individuals. Symptoms may include one or more of the following: weak, air-wasting dysphonia; inability to be heard in noisy locations; a tendency of the voice to be somewhat stronger in the morning but to “fade” with use; and a tendency to cough when drinking thin liquids.

See also: vocal cord paralysis, bilateral.


Injection Laryngoplasty with Temporary Gel

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Laryngoplasty (1 of 4)

This person awakened with a weak, whispery voice after emergency abdominal surgery. Now 3+ months later, voice is returning by degrees but is still very weak. In this photo, the patient is breathing quietly. The weak left vocal cord is more bowed than the right.
whispery air-wasting voice

Reason for air-wasting (2 of 4)

When she tries to produce voice, the left vocal cord comes only part of the way to the midline, leaving a large gap, and explaining her whispery air-wasting voice quality.
Voice gel injected into vocal cord

Voice gel injected into vocal cord (3 of 4)

On the same day, due to pressing patient need, the left vocal cord was “plumped” with voice gel. That material typically provides temporary benefit of 6 to 12 weeks, gradually absorbing during that time.
Vocal cords close completely

Vocal cords close completely (4 of 4)

Voice is dramatically improved, now that her vocal cords can more fully close to reduce the air-wasting and transform the voice from whispery to strong. Compare with photo 2.


Injection Medialization for Vocal Fold Paresis
See an example of one variant of vocal fold paresis and how it limits the voice. Then watch a medialization procedure in which voice gel is injected into the vocal fold affected by paresis, and hear how the voice thereafter improves.