Polyps can occur singly or in pairs, and usually form midway along the free margin of the vocal fold. Sometimes, a smaller lesion forms on the opposite vocal fold in reaction to the polyp, where the tissue gets irritated by the initial polyp hitting against it during each cycle of vibration. A polyp can sometimes be caused as a result of an isolated traumatic occurrence, such as coughing violently or screaming at a sporting event.
Symptoms include hoarseness, breathiness, loss of range, and decreased vocal stamina. Generally, polyps are diagnosed by visual examination using a flexible scope down the patient’s throat.
Treatment for a polyp usually begins with voice therapy, occasionally accompanied by a few days of voice rest, a significant (but temporary) reduction in voice use. Sometimes, voice surgery is necessary in order to provide the patient with the best voice outcome.
Prognosis for a polyp is generally very good; if the patient reduces or eliminates the underlying trauma that led to the lesions, the polyps generally don’t reappear.