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DIAGNOSING & TREATING VOCAL POLYPSWhen one of your favorite singers cancels tours or puts a hold on their career for vocal surgery, chances are polyps are the culprit.

Polyps are fluid-filled collections that form on the edge of either one or both vocal cords. Polyps will look like a bump, growth or blister on the vocal cords and similar to vocal nodules, polyps are a result of vocal trauma.

Most polyps are larger than nodules and can be also called polypoid degeneration or Reinke's edema.

Reinke’s Edema

Named after German anatomist Friedrich B. Reinke, Reinke's edema or polypoid degeneration, is a vocal disorder caused by the the swelling of the vocal folds due to fluid accumulation in "Reinke's Space", or the superficial lamina propria of vocal folds.

Reinke's Space- The layer underneath the surface lining of the vocal fold composed of cells, special fibers, and other substances. Reinke's Space played an essential role in vocal fold vibration.

Polyp Symptoms - What to Look For

A hoarse, scratchy, or raspy voice
Neck pain
Vocal fatigue
Sharp pain from ear to ear
Feeling as if you have a lump in your throat

Vocal Nodules vs Polyps

Vocal Nodules vs Polyps If your vocal cords are swollen, rest your voice to prevent further swelling. Consult a vocal specialist if the swelling does not go down. Contact the Colorado Voice Clinic ColoradoVoiceClinic.com for appointments.
Polyps vs Nodules

Vocal polyps and nodules may be similar in appearance, however there is a distinct difference. A good analogy is to think of a polyp as a blister and a nodule as a callus (Asha.Org).

Here is a breakdown of the difference between nodules, polyps, and vocal cysts:


Vocal cord nodules are often compared “calluses of the vocal fold and appear on both sides of the vocal cords. Nodules typically appear at the midpoint of the vocal folds and directly face each other. Nodules will typically disappear after vocal rest, however a specialist should be consulted if you suspect vocal nodules because they can become a more sever vocal polyp.


A vocal cord polyp more commonly occurs due to long term vocal abuse and typically only on one side of the vocal cord. Larger than vocal nodules, vocal polyps can occur in a variety of shapes and sizes.


A vocal cord cyst is a collection of fluid in sac-like formations on the vocal folds, the surface of the vocal cord or deeper, near the ligament of the vocal cord (EntNet.org). Vocal cord cysts affect vocal cord vibration and subsequently the severity of hoarseness or other voice problems caused by the cyst.

If you have experienced a hoarse voice for more than 2 to 3 weeks, consult an otolaryngologist (ENT doctor).

Your otolaryngologist will evaluate your vocal quality, pitch, loudness, ability to sustain voicing, and other voice characteristics. An instrumental examination may take place that involves inserting an endoscope into the mouth or nose to look at the vocal cords and larynx in general. A stroboscope (flashing light) may be used to watch the vocal cords as they move (Asha.Org).

Rest is the very first thing you should do to begin treating a vocal cord nodule or polyp. The second should be consulting your physician as surgery and/or therapy may be required.

Vocal therapy is a common treatment for singers, speakers, or anyone plagued by vocal cord nodules and/or polyps, particularly after a vocal surgery. Voice therapy involves stress reduction techniques, breathing exercises, posture correction, pitch alteration and correction techniques, good vocal hygiene, correcting and preventing abusive behaviors, and relaxation exercises (vocal and muscular).

If you think you are experiencing symptoms related to vocal nodules, polyps, or cysts, contact the Colorado Voice Clinic at ColoradoVoiceClinic.com.
Mon, Sep 22, 2014 @ 4:08 AM MDT Posted by
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