Department of Otolaryngology

Vocal cord granuloma

Vocal cord granulomas are masses that result from irritation. Granulomas can grow anywhere on the body where there is an irritation. In the throat, they can grow as a response to an irritation or injury. Usually non-cancerous, these granulomas grow on the cartilages that attach to the back of the vocal cords.

 Vocal cord granuloma risk factors and causes

Anyone is at risk of getting a vocal cord granuloma.

 Vocal cord granuloma causes

Irritation or injury to the vocal cords. This can occur from a breathing or feeding tube inserted in the throat, improper or excessive use of the voice, excessive coughing or acid reflux.

 Vocal cord granuloma complications

The granulomas can continue to grow if not treated.

If the vocal cord granulomas make breathing difficult, medical attention should be sought immediately.

In rare cases, a granuloma can signal the presence of cancer.

Vocal cord granuloma symptoms and diagnosis

The presence of vocal cord granulomas is apparent when speaking, singing, breathing and eating.

Vocal cord granuloma symptoms

  • difficulty speaking or singing
  • pain when speaking and/or swallowing
  • hoarseness or breathiness
  • rough voice
  • voice tires easily
  • feeling of a lump in the throat
  • sore throat or tickle in the throat
  • ear pain
  • dry cough

Vocal cord granuloma diagnosis

An ear, nose and throat doctor will examine the back of the throat. This examination will include a procedure called a videostroboscopy, which uses a small video camera for a clear picture of the vocal cords and voice box.

Vocal cord granuloma treatment

First, the condition causing the vocal cord granuloma needs resolution.

This can include:

  • removal of the tube in the throat when possible
  • voice therapy  
  • anti-reflux medication

If eliminating the things that caused the vocal cord granuloma don't resolve the condition, then surgery may occur.

Make an appointment at the UMPC Voice Center

To make an appointment for relief from vocal cord granuloma, contact the UPMC Voice Center at 412-232-SING (7464).