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Vocal Fold Nodules

Vocal fold nodules may cause hoarseness and are like calluses located on the vocal fold. These are non-cancerous growths which occurs as a result of voice overuse and misuse. Nodules are benign growths which are often seen in young children who speak loudly or in persons with high vocal demands.

A rough voice, hoarseness or vocal fatigue may be a result of nodules.

Nodules are diagnosed in-office during laryngoscopy and stroboscopy. They are seen in the midportion of the vocal folds, and are typically located on both vocal folds. When large enough nodules prevent closure of the vocal folds, causing air escape during voice production.

Voice therapy is the mainstay for treatment of vocal fold nodules. Voice therapy improves and enhances use of the vocal fold, teaching the patient to avoid behaviors that commonly contribute to nodule formation.. Voice therapy is performed with a speech language pathologist.

While uncommon, surgery may be used to remove nodules in select cases. This is performed in the operating room during a direct laryngoscopy. When the diagnosis is in question, microlaryngoscopy may be performed so that a surgeon can examine the vocal folds with a patient asleep.

Persons with persistent hoarseness should see an experienced laryngologist for diagnosis and management. Dr. Sunil Verma, director of the University Voice and Swallowing Center may be reached for consultation at 714.456.7017.