Hoarseness is a very common reason for consultation with an ENT consultant. Hoarseness is a common feature of viral upper respiratory tract infections (laryngitis) and often resolves without any long term effects. Other causes of hoarseness include laryngopharyngeal reflux, vocal cord nodules, vocal cord weakness and occasionally cancers of the vocal cords.
Assessment in the outpatient clinic involves history taking, head and neck clinical examination and often flexible laryngoscopy. Flexible laryngoscopy is where using a specially designed flexible endoscope passed through the nose, we can clearly visualise the vocal cords and surrounding structures. This allows us to assess for abnormalities and check the movement of the vocal cords themselves.
Management plans will be patient specific depending on the findings in clinic and may include proceeding to an operation called a microlaryngoscopy where the vocal cords are inspected while your are under general anaesthetic allowing for biopsy where necessary.