Seeing 1,000 new patients a year for voice, swallowing, and airway disorders, the Clinical Center for Voice Care’s multidisciplinary team of laryngologists and speech-language pathologists offers a comprehensive array of treatments in a subspecialty that many people don’t even know exists.
“We’ve found that voice disorders are often undertreated or left untreated,” says Ted Mau, M.D., the Center’s Director. “It’s not a very well-understood area of medicine, and there are relatively few physicians who have specialized training in this area. Before they come to us, many of our patients have been told either to wait out their voice problem or that there’s nothing to be done, yet there usually are options they’re just not aware of.”
Typical cases referred to the Center include patients with vocal fold paralysis—also known as vocal cord paralysis— following surgery in the neck or chest or even after just a bad cold.
“We have a lot of different ways of helping those patients,” says Dr. Mau, who is also an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at UTSW.
Don’t have to be a pro
Other patients regularly referred to the Center are those who rely on their voices for their livelihoods—singers and other performing artists, teachers, clergy members, call center workers, public speakers, and so on. But professional voice use is in no way a prerequisite.
“Anyone with a voice problem is invited to take advantage of our services,” Dr. Mau says. “A physician may have a patient who sings at church and has been having trouble with his or her voice—any unexplained change in the voice or some other concern. We can provide a comprehensive assessment. Most voice problems can be corrected or significantly improved, often with therapy alone or, in some cases, with minimally invasive procedures.”
The Center has the largest patient population in the region afflicted with spasmodic dysphonia and is the only facility in Texas offering the full range of treatment options to treat the disorder, including Botox injections, voice therapy, and selective denervation-reinnervation surgery.
Other services at the Center run the gamut from videostroboscopy for the assessment of vocal fold vibrations to thyroplasty and arytenoid adduction for vocal fold paralysis or weakness, as well as the following areas, among others:
- Microsurgery of the vocal folds
- In-office vocal fold injections
- In-office pulsed KTP laser treatment for benign and malignant vocal fold lesions
- Laryngeal EMG
- Voice therapy to optimize the voice production mechanism
“We can help with almost any type of voice problem, from minor irritations to major concerns,” says Dr. Mau.