THROAT AND VOICE SERVICES
Using a thin flexible camera through the nose the back of the tongue and voicebox can be visualized. In some situations this can be recorded or on a video monitor. Laryngoscopy is performed quickly in the office with minimal discomfort after a topical numbing/decongestant spray is placed in the nose. This is useful in identifying many causes of hoarseness including tumors, nodules, polyps, scarring and inflammation.
Vocal cord paralysis can occur from a variety of reasons including tumors or trauma of the neck or chest, after thyroid surgery or sometimes from unknown causes. This can cause a weak, breathy voice or lead to chronic aspiration (food going into the lungs) and pneumonias. A temporary material may be injected into the paralyzed vocal cord to push it towards the middle allowing the vocal cords to touch and perform more normal functions. The material typically is dissolves in 6-9 months and may be repeated if necessary.
The frenulum is the attachment from the underside of the tongue to the bottom of the mouth and jaw bone. If this attachment is too tight, the tongue mobility is limited and can cause a number of problems including breastfeeding difficulties, speech articulation problems and poor dental occlusion. Problems during breastfeeding can occur including ineffective latch, inadequate mild transfer, and persistent nipple pain. Typically a pediatrician or a lactation specialist can help determine if the problem is due to the frenulum attachment versus other nursing problems. For newborns this is typically with a quick in office procedure and the baby is able to nurse immediately after.