Vocal Cord Injection
You are scheduled for a vocal cord injection on __________________ at ___________.
Please arrive 20 - 30 minutes early. Check in at main clinic registration area before checking in at the ENT (Otolaryngology) clinic. This is done in the ENT Clinic. The visit takes about 30 minutes. Please bring this teaching handout with you to your visit.
What is it?
• A gel paste or medicine is injected into your vocal cords. It is used to treat your vocal cord disorder. There are many reasons to have this treatment, including vocal cord paralysis or immobility, spasmodic vocal cords and vocal cords that don’t vibrate well.
• Do not take aspirin or medicines that contain aspirin, vitamin E, or anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) for __days before the injection. You should not take these medicines for __ hours after the procedure. These medicines can cause bleeding. You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol®) as needed for pain.
• If you are using Coumadin®, Plavix®, or other medicines that thin your blood, please contact your primary doctor. You will need to discuss when to stop and restart these medicines. The medicine is stopped so you can safely have the treatment. Most of the time we recommend you stop __ days before the treatment. This will need to be confirmed with your primary doctor to ensure your safety.
• You must not eat or drink at all for 3 hours before the injection. This includes water, coffee, and juices.
The injection is done in one of two ways.
o The most common way is through your mouth. The doctor numbs the back of your mouth with a lidocaine spray. This helps suppress the gag reflex. Next the doctor uses a camera called an endoscope in your mouth to look at your vocal cords. Numbing medicine is dripped onto your vocal cords. The endoscope and an instrument that is curved is used to do the injection. The needle itself is very small.
o The second way is through your nose and neck. The doctor numbs your nose and throat. Then a thin tube called a flexible endoscope is passed through one side of your nose until the vocal cords are seen. Your neck skin is numbed. A thin needle is placed through the neck to give the medicine.
Home Care after a Vocal Cord Injection
After the Procedure
• Do not eat or drink for at least 1 hour. This gives the numbing medicine time to wear off. During this time your swallow reflex will return to normal.
• You can expect blood-tinged mucous. This is normal. Avoid coughing or clearing of the throat. Doing this may irritate the tissue that has been injected.
• Do not smoke. Smoking increases throat irritation and secretions.
• You may have throat pain after the numbing medicine wears off. If you need medicine for pain relief, use acetaminophen (Tylenol®) as needed. Follow the directions on the bottle.
• Do not use products that contain aspirin or ibuprofen. They may increase bleeding.
• If you have a sore throat, drink plenty of liquids. Eat only soft bland foods until your sore throat is gone. Do not gargle.
• If you were taking Coumadin or Plavix or other medicines to thin your blood before the procedure, you may start taking these medicines in __days.
• You may be placed on voice rest for 24hours to help your vocal cords heal.
• You may be hoarse and your voice may be worse for a while. This is normal and goes away with time. Do not whisper as this strains your voice.
When to Call the Doctor
• Shortness of breath or can’t get your breath. Call 911. Go to the nearest Emergency Room.
• Severe trouble swallowing.
• Coughing up large blood clots.
• A fever greater that 101.5ºF (taken by mouth).
• Any feeling that you are not getting better like you should.
• You have pain that doesn’t go away with medicine.
• Otolaryngology (ENT) Clinic, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm: (608) 263-6190. After hours, you will speak with the paging operator. Ask for the ENT doctor on call. Give your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
• If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 05/17/2012
Copyright © 05/17/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6588
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