In vocal cord paralysis, the nerve impulses to your voice box (larynx) are disrupted, resulting in paralysis of the muscle. Doctors often don't know the cause of vocal cord paralysis. Known causes may include:
May 20, 2015
- Injury to the vocal cord during surgery. Surgery on or near your neck or upper chest can result in damage to the nerves that serve your voice box. Surgeries that carry a risk of damage include surgeries to the thyroid or parathyroid glands, esophagus, neck, and chest.
- Neck or chest injury. Trauma to your neck or chest may injure the nerves that serve your vocal cords or the voice box itself.
- Stroke. A stroke interrupts blood flow in your brain and may damage the part of your brain that sends messages to the voice box.
- Tumors. Tumors, both cancerous and noncancerous, can grow in or around the muscles, cartilage or nerves controlling the function of your voice box and can cause vocal cord paralysis.
- Viral infections. Some viral infections, such as Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr and herpes, can cause inflammation and damage directly to the nerves in the larynx.
- Neurological conditions. If you have certain neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease, you may experience vocal cord paralysis.
- Dankbaar JW, et al. Vocal cord paralysis: Anatomy, imaging and pathology. Insights in Imaging. 2014;5:743.
- Vocal cord paralysis. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/vocalparal.aspx. Accessed April 13, 2015.
- Vocal cord paralysis. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/vfparalysis.htm. Accessed April 13, 2015.
- Doherty GM, ed. Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Surgery. 13th ed. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed April 14, 2015.
- Bruch JM, et al. Hoarseness in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 11, 2015.
- Rubin RT, et al. Vocal fold paresis and paralysis. Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America. 2007;40:1109.
- Toutounchi SJS, et al. Vocal cord paralysis and its etiologies: A prospective study. Journal of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Research. 2014;6:47.