Skip to content
Massachusetts Eye and Ear
/assets/MEE/images/mgb-default-thumb.png Vocal Fold Paralysis and Paresis

Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery

Vocal Fold Paralysis

Phone number forFor Appointments


Vocal fold paralysis occurs when one or both of the vocal folds are not swinging open and closed, or are too floppy. It can happen because of a throat or neck injury, certain surgical procedures or, sometimes, a virus.

5Common Symptoms

  • Weak, breathy voice
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty swallowing liquids, solids, and pills
  • Vocal fatigue
  • A decrease in vocal stamina

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment for vocal fold paralysis and paresis depends on a variety of factors, including degree of voice loss, vocal demands, presence of aspiration, and airway and swallowing symptoms. There is potential for vocal fold motion recovery, and treatment options are tailored according to prognosis for recovery, symptoms, and individual voice needs. Treatments of vocal fold paralysis and paresis are designed to enable the working vocal fold to better contact the weak side.

Meet Our Team

We bring together physicians, speech-language pathologists, and other healthcare professionals to provide treatment to patients suffering from voice and throat disorders. Collectively, we are among the world’s most experienced – and most successful – laryngology, voice, and speech teams.

Related Conditions

Did you know?