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Vocal Cord Injection

A vocal cord injection is a procedure in which a filling agent is injected into your vocal cord to augment your vocal cord.

This procedure is used to repair vocal cord paralysis or immobility, age-related voice changes and vocal cord scars.

Before the procedure

Medications: For 10 days before the injection, do not take aspirin or medicines that contain:

  • Vitamin E
  • Multivitamins
  • Herbs
  • Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen
These medicines can cause bleeding. Instead, use acetaminophen (Tylenol) as needed for pain.

Blood thinners: If you are using medicines that thin your blood to treat another condition, such as high cholesterol, please contact your primary care doctor. You will need to discuss when to stop and restart these medicines. 

Eating and drinking: Please do not eat or drink anything three hours before the injection, including water or coffee. If you need to take medicine, take it with a small sip of water.

Allergies: Be sure to tell the nurse or doctor if you have any allergies to numbing medications, such as Lidocaine.

During the procedure

The injection is done in one of two ways:

  • Through the mouth. The doctor will numb the back of your mouth with a numbing medication, which controls the gag reflex. After your vocal cords are numbed, and the material is injected.
  • Through the skin of the neck. A small camera will be placed in the nose and used to view the voice box. Numbing medication is given and a thin needle is placed through the neck to place the material.

After the procedure

  • Avoid food and drink. Do not eat or drink for at least one hour. This will give the numbing medicine time to wear off. Your regular diet can resume after one hour.
  • Bloody mucous. Blood-tinged mucous is normal.
  • Don't cough. Do not cough or clear the throat. This irritates the tissue.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking will irritate your throat.

Pain relief

After the numbing medication wears off, your throat may hurt. If it bothers you, take acetaminophen as needed. Drink plenty of fluids, as well, and avoid gargling.

Do not use products that contain aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Naproxen). They may increase bleeding.

Voice exercises

For two to three days, avoid speaking or whispering to allow your vocal cords to heal.

Your voice may be worse or sound hoarse for a while; this is normal and will go away with time. 

When to call your doctor

If you are having shortness of breath or cannot breathe, please go to the emergency room or call 911.

Call 714-456-7017 if you have any of the following problems:

  • Severe difficulty swallowing
  • Coughing up large blood clots
  • Fever greater than 101.5ºF
  • Feeling that you are not getting better as you should
  • Pain that doesn't go away with medicine

Call our experts for an evaluation at 714-456-7017 or request an appointment online ›

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