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Spasmodic Dysphonia

Spasmodic dysphonia is a voice condition in which vocal cord muscles irregularly and abnormally contract changing voice quality.

Patients with spasmodic dysphonia often describe symptoms including:

  • Strangled and strained voice quality
  • Effortful speech
  • Tremor or "shaky" voice

Some patients note increase in symptoms during times of stress or hardship. Symptoms can improve during laughter, singing or even after an alcoholic beverage.

Symptoms often start during adulthood, and progress with time. There is no known cause of spasmodic dysphonia and no relationships to environment or genetics.

The treatment for spasmodic dysphonia is botox injections to the vocal cord. Botox is a medication that limits muscle movement, preventing the vocal cord muscle spasms of spasmodic dysphonia. Physicians in the UC Irvine Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery were some of the first in the country to use botox for treatment of spasmodic dysphonia as early as 1989. Botox injections are performed by passing a small needle through the mouth or skin of the neck and placing the medication directly into the vocal cord.

The most common surgery performed for spasmodic dysphonia is the "deinnervation-reinnervation" procedure. The nerves responsible for overactive muscle movement and cut and re-rerouted.

To make an appointment with one of our expert laryngologists who treat spasmodic dysphonia, Dr. Sunil Verma or Dr. Roger Crumley, please call 714-456-7017.