“Many patients with vocal fold paralysis struggle unnecessarily while they wait for possible spontaneous recovery,” says Ted Mau, M.D., Director of UT Southwestern’s Clinical Center for Voice Care. “The conventional assumption is that recovery from vocal fold paralysis could take up to 12 months, and patients are often advised to ‘wait and see.’ That practice is no longer supported by newer data.
“We now know that most recoverable cases of paralysis show signs of recovery by six months,” he adds. “Even before that, there are ways of making the voice better. A vocal fold injection can be done in the office setting to make the voice stronger so patients can continue to function at work while awaiting potential recovery of neurologic function.”
For paralysis that is likely to be permanent, the Center, which treated 140 patients with complete or partial paralysis of the vocal fold over the past year, provides the most comprehensive surgical management options in the region.
“Our job is to restore vocal function in a timely manner with a procedure that is consistent with the patient’s occupational or social vocal demands,” Dr. Mau says. “In today’s workplace, waiting and seeing is simply no longer acceptable.”