Vocal Cord Treatment, Swallowing & Airway Services

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Swallowing, speaking or breathing problems often develop as a result of serious conditions like brain injury or cancer. Sometimes they occur after being on a ventilator or following neck and chest surgery. Professional singers and speakers tend to develop vocal cord polyps or neck tension from overuse.

Whatever the cause, losing your ability to eat, drink, talk or breathe properly can result in not only pain and discomfort but frustration, social isolation and depression.

Finding the right throat or vocal cord treatment can help you resume a normal diet and life. At UVA, this means giving every patient the same attentive care we give well-known vocalists.

Conditions We Treat

  • Acute and chronic laryngitis, reflux laryngitis and allergic laryngitis
  • Airway narrowing
  • Ear, nose and throat problems of the professional singer and speaker
  • Functional voice disorders
  • Laryngeal and tracheal stenosis (narrowing of the airway)
  • Laryngitis, acute and chronic, reflux and allergic
  • Muscular tension dysphonia
  • Polyps, nodules, cysts
  • Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis
  • Voice and swallowing problems due to neurological disease (stroke, Parkinson's disease, paralysis)
  • Spasmodic dysphonia
  • Swallowing trouble
  • Vocal cord paralysis
  • Vocal cord spasms
  • Voice box (larynx) cancer and precancerous growths
  • Zenkers diverticulum

Signs You Need an ENT or Vocal Cord Specialist

You may need a voice specialist if you have:

  • Persistent lump in the throat
  • Liquid regularly going into your windpipe
  • Food sticking in the throat
  • Shortness of breath caused by throat tightness
  • Hoarseness that lasts 3 weeks
  • Difficulty singing

Choose Effective, Convenient Care

Only a handful of providers in Virginia offer treatments for vocal cord and swallowing disorders. At UVA, our highly specialized doctors and voice therapists can provide the latest care options not everyone can offer.  

Working closely with our speech therapy team during the initial visit, we aim to find the best therapies and surgeries for your condition. We often provide same-day procedures right in the clinic.

Advanced Voice Diagnostics 

Our high-tech tools allow us to accurately measure your vocal electrical signals, acoustics and airflow. Once we see the details of your vocal cords, we can pinpoint the problem and figure out the right treatment for you. These diagnostic tools include:

  • High-definition video to record the vibration of your vocal cords and voice box, called a videostroboscopy
  • Laryngeal electromyography to test the electric signals of muscle in your voice box

Restoring & Reconstructing Your Voice Box

Cancer, as well as traumatic injury, can damage your voice box, or larynx. So can radiation and other cancer treatments. We offer laser surgery as well as more traditional techniques to preserve and restore your voice box, vocal cords and throat, no matter the cause of the injury.

Swallowing Problems: A Podcast

Ever get a lump in your throat that just won't go away? Find out what the cause could be. View vocal cord specialist transcript.