Treatment helping save singers' voices

August 10, 2011 9:34:18 AM PDT
Rocker Roger Daltrey and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler not only share a musical bond. Each has been treated with a laser procedure on their vocal cords.

BACKGROUND: The National Institutes of Health estimates that 7.5 million Americans have trouble using their voice. The disorders can range from spasms to tumors. The KTP Laser treatment is an innovative laser therapy that can be used for vocal cord cancer. It successfully restores patients' voices without radiotherapy or traditional surgery, which can permanently damage vocal quality. (SOURCE: Annals of Otology, Rhinology, & Laryngology)

TREATMENT: KTP Laser Therapy is a delicate laser technology that allows doctors to treat vocal cord lesions, such as polyps or tumors, as an outpatient treatment without anesthesia. The laser procedure allows patients to be treated without the risk of radiation or damage to the underlying tissue, which better preserves the natural voice. This procedure is especially beneficial for patients with reoccurring conditions that require regular treatment, such as laryngeal papilloma or laryngeal dysplasia. (SOURCE: Emory Health Care)

EARLY RESULTS: The first 22 patients who received pulsed laser treatment for vocal cord cancer were reportedly cancer-free several years after treatment. Some have required second or third laser treatments to remove residual disease, but another benefit of the therapy is that it does not rule out future therapeutic options. Dr. Steven Zeitels estimates that 90 percent of patients with early vocal cord cancer would be candidates for pulsed-KTP laser treatment. (SOURCE: American Broncho-Esophagological Association)

There are several advantages to the KTP Laser Therapy. Some include:

  • Pulsed-KTP laser therapy allows vocal cord lesions to be removed with minimal damage to vocal fold tissue, thus preserving the natural voice.
  • It is ideal for patients with reoccurring conditions because it does less damage to the vocal folds, and it can be performed as an outpatient procedure.
  • The procedure can be performed while a patient is awake. The patient needs only a numbing agent, no general anesthesia and can drive himself home immediately after the procedure.
  • It replaces the need for traditional inpatient vocal cord surgery, requiring only a couple of hours of patient downtime as opposed to the two days needed for a typical operation under general anesthesia.
(SOURCE: Emory Health Care)


Melanie Woodworth Mass General Hospital Center for Laryngeal Surgery
(617) 726-0218

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