Vocal fold cyst

Benign lesion localized in the submucosal layer of the vocal fold.
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As a rule, vocal fold cysts belong to those disorders that respond exclusively to phonosurgical treatment. A distinctive feature of the cyst is the presence of epithelial walls, which should be completely isolated and excised.

High-risk group

Women who overuse their voice, often for professional purposes. Such factors as smoking, air pollution, impairment of breathing, GERD increase the risk of cyst formation.


Hoarseness is the main symptom. If the cyst is big in size, there is a feeling that something is stuck in a throat.

Diagnosis and treatment


Successful treatment requires a thorough differential diagnosis with such laryngeal lesions as vocal cord nodules and pseudocysts. This diagnosis is needed since the approach to excise cysts is different. They should be removed completely with the walls, otherwise a cyst recurs. This surgery is called microsurgery and requires precise work of the surgeon. For this very reason the postoperative period is of high importance. It should include fibrolaryngoscopy, stroboscopy of the larynx, as well as intraoperative diagnosis, which most surgeons do not even think about.


The method of choice is surgical excision using a CO2 laser. The entire operation should be performed with a minimal impact on the surrounding tissues of the cyst to prevent scarification. The ideal approach is to use the microflap technique with a careful dissection and excision of all the walls of the cyst.

Treatment results

In total, 980 benign laryngeal lesions have been removed by Professor Roberto Puxeddu.
96% - full voice recovery
100% - proper voice formation

Cyst excision and postoperative result

Cyst excision of the left vocal cord.
Postoperative result, full voice recovery.

Stages of vocal cord excision

To sum up

Vocal cord cyst can’t be treated conservatively, but it can be successfully excised surgically. Preoperative examination is the key to differential diagnosis with nodules and pseudocysts, which requires a completely different therapeutic approach. Vocal cord cyst should be excised with all its walls, otherwise a cyst recurrence can develop. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia transorally, using a microscope and a CO2 laser.
Natalia Chuchueva

Assistant Professor, Department of ear, nose and throat disease, Sechenov University, Moscow.
ENT-specialist, health centre "Barviha" Presidential Affairs.


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