Polyps are by far the most common benign (noncancerous) lesions occurring in the larynx. They usually occur on both sides and develop at the junction of the front and middle third of the vocal fold in the outermost layers of the tissue. They may appear as pedunculated (attached by a slim stalk) or sessile (closely adhering to the surface).
The image below is a magnified intraoperative view of a vocal fold polyp (yellow arrow).
Symptoms: Typical symptoms of polyps include hoarseness, breathiness or vocal roughness. These signs are commonly accompanied by the sensation of something in the throat.
Causes: Polyps are thought to result from vocal abuse and misuse. However, unlike nodules, which can be the result of a single traumatic event (such as yelling at a sports event), polyps are usually associated with prolonged vocal abuse. Polyps are also frequently found in patients who smoke.
Treatment: Polyps are usually surgically removed under general anesthesia. After removal, limited voice use is recommended for a minimum of two weeks while the vocal cords heal. Voice therapy is also commonly recommended to help the patient avoid voice practices that led to the polyps so as to minimize the potential for polyps to develop again.