Vocal cord paralysis occurs when the nerve impulses to your voice box (larynx) are interrupted. This results in paralysis of the muscle of the vocal cords. Vocal cord paralysis can affect your ability to speak and even breathe. That's because your vocal cords, sometimes called vocal folds, do more than just produce sound. They also protect your airway by preventing food, drink and even your saliva from entering your windpipe (trachea) and causing you to choke.
There are a number of causes of vocal cord paralysis including damage to nerves during surgery and certain cancers. Vocal cord paralysis can also be caused by a viral infection or a neurological disorder.
Treatment for vocal cord paralysis usually includes voice therapy; however, surgery is also sometimes necessary.
Jun. 15, 2012
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- Ekbom DC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 6, 2012.
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