The treatment process for paralyzed vocal cords depends on the cause, severity and duration of the symptoms, but generally it includes a thorough consultation with a doctor and voice therapy, according to Mayo Clinic. In some cases it may include bulk injections, surgery or a combination of treatments.
Many people with paralyzed vocal cords improve without surgery, and some doctors postpone surgical procedures and proceed with bulk injection treatment in the first three months, explains Mayo Clinic. Bulk injections are performed to add bulk to thin, weakened vocal cord muscles. Collagen, body fat or other types of filler substances are injected to reposition the affected cord, bringing it closer to the middle of the voice box. In this way, it makes closer contact with the opposite functioning cord when speaking or swallowing.
Patients should discuss the different surgical options available with a doctor, including thyroplasty, nerve replacement and vocal cord repositioning, states Mayo Clinic. In thyroplasty, an implant is inserted into the larynx to reposition the vocal cord. A surgeon may also use a healthy nerve from a different part of the neck to replace the damaged cord, or he may reposition the cord by moving supporting tissue inward toward the voice box. In cases where airflow is decreased from paralysis of both vocal cords, a tracheotomy may be necessary to help relieve breathing problems.