Decortication of Vocal Cords- Ear Nose And Throat (ENT)

What is decortication of vocal cords?

The vocal cords are two narrow folds of muscle that are covered with mucous membrane. They are situated side-by-side inside the voice box and guards the entrance to the windpipe. The vocal cords are responsible for the production of voice. Decortication of vocal cords is a  surgical procedure in which the damaged mucosa of the vocal cords is removed.

Which Doctor to Consult?

Ear Nose Throat (ENT) surgeons are the medical specalists to be consulted if there Is any issue with the vocal cords.

Who requires this surgery?

Vocal cords may get strained or damaged. They can also get subjected to conditions such as growths and infection. Thus surgery is required for some conditions. The process of removal of the damaged mucosa of the vocal cords is known as decortication of vocal cords.

Symptoms of vocal cord dysfunction include loss of vocal range, raw feeling at the back of the throat, hoarseness, difficulty breathing, and always a need to clear throat.

The procedure:

Patient is asked to undergo preliminary tests such as electrocardiogram, blood tests etc. Patient is asked about any existing chronic illness as well as regular use of any medications such as anticoagulants. Microlaryngoscopy, an endoscopic vocal cord surgery, is performed under general anesthesia. In order to visualize the vocal cords properly, a laryngoscope is inserted in the mouth to hold down the tongue. A special telescope or operating microscope or a surgical microsope is used to get detailed views of the vocal cords and adjoining areas. Laser or long narrow endoscopic instruments may be used to excise or remove excess growth, tumor or swelling from the vocal cords. Powered instruments (with rotating blades) may also be used to remove growths such as papillomas.

What to expect after the procedure?

Patients may have some pain and swelling in the affected area that will gradually disappear. A vocal cord rehabilitation programme is also recommended later on. Patient should have liquid diet for couple of days. Patient should drink plenty of water and may take steam inhalation. Patient should not try to clear the throat and avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. Patient is advised not to talk or make sounds the days after the procedure.



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About the Author:

Dr. Anand Lakhkar is a physician scientist from India. He completed his basic medical education from India and his postgraduate training in pharmacology from the United States. He has a MS degree in pharmacology from New York Medical College, a MS degree in Cancer/Neuro Pharmacology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Pharmacology from New York Medical College where he was the recipient of the Graduate Faculty Council Award for academic and research excellence.  His research area of expertise is in pulmonary hypertension, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular pharmacology.  He has multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at at prestigious conferences.