Papillomas of the larynx are growths caused by the Human Papilloma Virus. While papilloma can present in both children and adults, the juvenile cases tend to be more severe. Symptoms may include hoarseness, voice changes or difficulty breathing.
Papillomas can usually be identified when visualizing the throat by using a scope through the nose. The diagnosis must be confirmed by a biopsy.
Treatment for papilloma is generally surgical. Since papillomas grow only on the surface, the surgeon’s goal is to preserve all the normal structures of the larynx while removing the papilloma. Due to recent advances, recurrent lesions are often controlled by laser treatment in the office under topical anesthesia. If surgical resection and in office laser treatment is not sufficient, patients may need one of the many adjuvant medical therapies available.
Since papillomas frequently recur, multiple surgeries or laser procedures are often necessary. Despite the recurrences, due to the minimally invasive nature of the in-office laser treatments, most cases of adult onset papilloma can be controlled without a significant impact on quality of life.