Health A-Z

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Prognosis

  • Vocal cord nodules. Nodules can come back if vocal abuse continues. This is true whether they disappear with voice rest and voice therapy or are surgically removed.

  • Vocal cord polyps. Polyps may be removed successfully with surgery. But they can return if you don't have voice therapy and don't stop inhaling irritating substances.

  • Contact ulcers. With rest, treatment of reflux and retraining the voice, most contact ulcers go away without complications in weeks or months.

  • Laryngitis. Most cases of laryngitis go away within a few days to a few weeks, depending on their cause.

  • Vocal cord tumors. Noncancerous tumors usually do not return after they are surgically removed. You usually regain your normal voice.

    Cancerous tumors can be very serious. The earlier they are detected and treated, the better the likelihood of survival and cure. Your voice may change dramatically, depending upon the extent of the cancer and the type of treatment.

  • Vocal cord paresis. Many instances of vocal cord weakness improve over time. This may take many months.

  • Vocal cord paralysis. Some cases go away within a year on their own. But many people require surgery to restore their voice, and many need voice therapy. With proper treatment, most people with one-sided vocal cord paralysis will regain good voice quality and control. People with two-sided vocal cord paralysis must relearn how to use their voices after they have had surgery to assist their breathing.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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