What is Laryngitis? Laryngitis is a condition that affects the vocal cords and results in…
Botox is fast becoming the all-purpose mystery medicine that seems to fix much more than wrinkly skin. According to Science Daily, one of botox’s many newly discovered uses is to help patients with vocal cord disorders regain what researchers call V-RQOL, or voice-related quality of life.
While the concept of injecting botox, which is derived from one of the most potent toxins on Earth (botulism toxin Type A), may sound a bit daunting, good evidence today exists to support its use in this way.
In this post, learn more about why botox is being injected into some patients’ vocal cords, why this is being done, which specialists can do it and what conditions it can treat.
When to Use Botox Treatment on Vocal Cords
Spasmodic dysphonia, a relatively rare neurological condition that causes spasming of the vocal cords, is the most common reason why botox is prescribed as a possible treatment.
According to the Mayo Clinic, spasmodic dysphonia can manifest by causing spasms in one or both vocal cords, with the result being hoarseness, difficulty or inability to talk normally.
Botox works to reduce spasms by weakening the vocal cord musculature, according to Stanford Medicine.
Sometimes botox is also used to treat granulomas, typically benign nodules formed when immune cells cluster around a foreign item that cannot be expelled. A botox injection keeps the granuloma and vocal cords separate so the area can heal.
How Botox Is Injected Into the Vocal Cords
While it sounds scary, the actual procedure used to inject botox into the vocal cords themselves is quite simple. However, this procedure should ONLY be done by an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist who is trained to know this anatomy in detail.
For most patients, a tiny needle is used to inject the botox through the skin of the neck right into one or both vocal cords.
If for some reason the patient cannot receive the treatment in this way, a mild sedative can be administered to allow for the botox to be injected via the throat passageway instead.
Once the treatment concludes, it can take up to 72 hours to take effect. It can sometimes take more than one injection to achieve the full desired effect.