Thyroplasty in India: Vocal Cord Paralysis Treatment

Thyroplasty emerges as a crucial intervention for vocal cord paralysis, where an implant repositions the vocal cord to enhance voice clarity. Delving into the causes, symptoms, diagnostic procedures, and the diverse approaches of thyroplasty, this procedure serves as a last resort when conservative treatments fall short.

Thyroplasty in India: Vocal Cord Paralysis Treatment

Causes of Vocal Cord Paralysis

Vocal cord paralysis arises from disrupted nerve impulses to the larynx, affecting vocal cord muscle movement. Beyond impairing speech, it compromises airway protection, hindering functions like swallowing and preventing aspiration of saliva.

Signs and Symptoms

  1. Air leakage during speech
  2. Hoarseness
  3. Noisy breathing
  4. Loss of vocal pitch
  5. Inability to speak loudly
  6. Loss of gag reflex
  7. Frequent inhalation while speaking
  8. Choking or coughing during swallowing
Diagnostic Procedures Prior to Thyroplasty
  • Endoscopy: Utilizing a flexible endoscope, specialists examine vocal cords, often employing videostrobolaryngoscopy for a detailed view.
  • Laryngeal Electromyography (LEMG): Measures electric currents in larynx muscles, aiding in assessing muscle function.
  • Other Tests: Blood tests, X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs may be employed to identify the root cause of vocal cord paralysis.
Conducting Thyroplasty

Thyroplasty encompasses a series of surgeries tailored to the severity of vocal cord paralysis:

  1. Bulk Injection: Injectable substances like body fat or collagen are used to add mass, bringing the affected vocal cord closer to the center.   
  1. Structural Implants (Thyroplasty): An implant repositions the vocal cord, addressing paralysis and occasionally requiring additional surgery for implant adjustment.  
  1. Vocal Cord Repositioning: Tissue from the vocal cord window is moved externally, pushing the damaged vocal cord towards the center and facilitating vibration against the healthy cord.  
  1. Nerve Supplementation (Reinnervation): Healthy nerve transfer may replace the damaged vocal cord, sometimes performed in conjunction with a bulk injection.
  1. Tracheotomy: In cases of bilateral vocal cord damage causing reduced airflow, a tracheotomy creates an opening in the windpipe, enabling breathing despite paralyzed vocal cords.

While regaining the original voice might be challenging, voice therapy offers compensatory techniques. Speech-language pathologists guide individuals in using their voice effectively without causing further harm to the vocal mechanism. Thyroplasty stands as a vital measure, ensuring optimal vocal function in cases where conventional treatments prove inadequate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Vocal cord paralysis results from disrupted nerve impulses, affecting vocal cord motion. Thyroplasty becomes necessary when conservative treatments prove ineffective.
Look out for signs such as hoarseness, noisy breathing, loss of vocal pitch, inability to speak loudly, and choking while swallowing, indicating potential vocal cord paralysis.
Diagnostic procedures include endoscopy for visual examination, laryngeal electromyography (LEMG) to measure muscle activity, and additional tests like X-rays or CT scans to identify the cause of vocal cord paralysis.
Thyroplasty comprises various surgeries tailored to the severity of vocal cord paralysis. These include bulk injection, structural implants, vocal cord repositioning, nerve supplementation, and tracheotomy in specific cases.
While achieving the exact original voice might be challenging, thyroplasty, coupled with voice therapy, can significantly enhance vocal function. Speech-language pathologists guide individuals in efficient voice use without causing further harm.

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