Vocal Fold Scarring

Contact Information

Voice and Swallowing Clinic, UW Hospital

(608) 263-6190


Pediatric Voice and Swallow Clinic, American Family Children's Hospital
(608) 265-7760


Voice Clinic, 1 S. Park

(608) 287-2500

Vocal fold scarring is one of the most difficult voice problems to treat. Scarring usually occurs due to trauma to the vocal cords from intubations or longstanding acid-reflux disease. Some patients also have congenital scarring (sulcus vocalis).
This scarring gives patients a chronically hoarse voice with a breathy and strained quality. It also make patients vocally fatigued and can threaten their professional viability.
The UW Health Voice Clinic is a national leader in vocal fold scarring treatment. Surgical improvement of vocal fold scarring is possible with multiple approaches:
  • Vocal cord injections are performed under topical anesthesia. The procedure requires a half-hour visit in the office, and patients can drive themselves home the same day.
  • Endoscopic proceduresare also performed on an ambulatory basis (minithyrotomy). This procedure allows insertion of implants to help restore normal vocal cord structure and function.
  • Thyroplasty, a surgical option in which tissue is used to restore the contour of the vocal cords, creates long-lasting results. This procedure requires patients to have a small neck incision and requires a one-night stay in the hospital.