Laryngology Clinical Care
The Division of Laryngology at Indiana University School of Medicine uses specialized medical technologies that are designed for the patient to experience better treatment results within a shorter amount of time. For more complex conditions affecting the voice and airway, laryngologists at IU School of Medicine are also experts in the operating room.
The following are common reasons to visit a laryngologist:
For individuals who rely on their voice for their profession, such as performers, singers and lecturers, the laryngologists and voice specialty speech pathologists at IU School of Medicine provide an advanced array of services aimed to prevent, preserve and rehabilitate the voice. The additional vocal performance experience of providers also gives an extra degree of insight into the needs of vocal professionals.
Vocal cord nodules, cysts, and polyps are common lesions that significantly impact voice, particularly for professional voice users. Some lesions resolve with the work of voice therapists, while many require surgical removal. The interdisciplinary laryngology team ensures that vocal outcomes are optimized.
Laryngeal dysplasia is a precancerous growth, and squamous cell carcinoma is the most common cancer of the larynx (throat). Voice changes are a first symptom of cancer, so patients should visit a laryngologist if they experience voice changes that lasts more than four weeks. Treatment includes surgery, radiation and/or chemoradiation, and laryngologists at IU School of Medicine are experts in minimally invasive techniques as a means for cure. Patients enjoy a high rate of success when throat cancers are detected early.
Patients may develop a hoarse voice, weak cough and difficulty with swallowing due to weak movement of the vocal cord. Vocal cord paralysis is often resolved with a quick, office-based procedure to reposition the vocal cord in a more favorable position.
Laryngeal papilloma is a condition where benign growths can develop on the vocal cords and lead to significant hoarseness. This condition is treated through surgical removal plus medications to prevent regrowth. Many patients can transition to treatment with an office-based technique that avoids general anesthesia.
Neurological problems that affect the voice include spasmodic dysphonia, vocal tremor and Parkinson’s hypophonia. Spasmodic dysphonia is caused by involuntary, irregular spasms of the vocal cords. Laryngologists can significantly improve symptoms for patients through injections and therapy in order to calm spasms and improve voice quality.
Scarring on the voice box could prevent its ability to open normally. The voice box is part of the upper airway, leading to breathing difficulty. Laryngologists offer several options for treatment that help open the area to improve breathing.
Narrowing of the windpipe is usually caused from trauma or an inflammatory problem. Endoscopic surgery can improve the airway, and open procedures can cure the problem permanently.
Benign growths can develop in the larynx and other upper airway regions. Growths are sometimes caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). Patients with large growths blocking the airway or pushing from the outside may experience limited breathing ability. These are treated with surgical removal and subsequent medications to prevent future growth.