Vocal cord nodule

by Jason Wasserman MD PhD FRCPC
April 22, 2022


What is a vocal cord nodule?

A vocal cord polyp is a non-cancerous growth that develops in a part of the larynx called the vocal cords. Another name for a vocal cord nodule is a vocal cord polyp.

What causes a vocal cord nodule?

Most vocal cord nodules are caused by an injury that damages the vocal cords. Excessive shouting, recent surgery, and prior infection of the larynx are common causes.

What are the symptoms of a vocal cord nodule?

The vocal cords are important for producing sound when we talk and a vocal cord nodules can interfere with the normal movement of the vocal cords. For this reason, the most common symptoms of a vocal cord nodule are hoarseness or voice changes.

How do pathologists make the diagnosis of vocal cord nodule?

The diagnosis is usually made after part or all of the nodule is surgically removed in a procedure called a biopsy or excision. The tissue is then sent to a pathologist who examines it under the microscope.

What does a vocal cord nodule look like under the microscope?

When examined under the microscope, the nodule is usually round or finger-like in shape. The surface of the tissue is covered by specialized squamous cells that are normally found in the vocal cords. The squamous cells may be described as reactive. The deeper tissue is called the stroma and it normally shows a variety of changes that may include hemorrhage (bleeding), myxoid degeneration (tissue breakdown), edema (increased fluid). Small and medium-sized blood vessels may also be seen. All of these changes are normal in a vocal cord nodule.

vocal cord nodule

The microscopic appearance of a vocal cord nodule.

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