Thyroplasty is a procedure in which an implant is placed in the larynx (voice box) alongside the vocal cord. This implant pushes the vocal cord closer to the middle. Both vocal cords need to touch in the middle in order to have a strong voice. The implant allows a paralyzed or weak vocal cord to reach the midline.
why would i need a thyroplasty?
Thyroplasty is done in patients who have a vocal cord paralysis or severe weakness. This procedure is done after the surgeon is sure that the paralysis will not recover. Unlike a vocal injection, these results are permanent and no further procedures are needed until the weakened vocal cord thins over time. Should it be needed, however, the implant is removable and the procedure fully reversible.
what are other treatment options?
Patients are usually offered vocal injections instead of a thyroplasty. However, when the vocal cord is very weak or totally paralyzed, a thyroplasty will give a better result. Surgeons who are not experienced in this procedure often get poor results.
Voice therapy can alleviate symptoms in patients who have a mild vocal cord weakness (paresis). It is often insufficient in those who have a significant vocal cord weakness or total paralysis.