Vocal Cord Leukoplakia

 

Leukoplakia refers to a white lesion or ulcer on the vocal cord.  Leukoplakia can be pre-cancerous or even cancerous.  Leukoplakia disrupts the vibration cycle of the vocal cords and thus leads to a hoarse voice.  It is caused by irritants to the vocal cords, primarily tobacco smoke, but can also occur from exposure to acid reflux from the stomach.

 

A biopsy is usually necessary to determine if the lesion is cancerous.  If the lesion is not cancerous, close follow-up examination  is helpful to monitor for any changes.