Leukoplakia is a condition describing the presence of white plaques on the vocal cords. Leukoplakia often contains dysplasia, which is disordered and sometimes pre-cancerous growth of the vocal cord tissue.
Symptoms of leukoplakia may include:
- Hoarse voice, which may be slowly progressive and constant
- Sensation of something stuck in the throat
The greatest risk factor for leukoplakia is a history of smoking, though leukoplakia may affect non-smokers also. Alcohol use is another risk factor for dysplasia in the head and neck, and reflux is thought to be a risk factor as well.
Leukoplakia can typically be suspected by office examination, and a biopsy of the plaque will confirm the diagnosis.
Dr. Lee Akst is one of only a few doctors in the nation offering treatment for laryngeal leukoplakia by KTP laser. Traditional surgery to remove leukoplakia carries a risk of removing too much vocal cord tissue, and may further complicate voice problems through scarring.
The state-of-the-art KTP laser allows Dr. Akst to treat the layers of diseased tissue while protecting the underlying normal vocal cord, helping to save the voice.
The KTP laser can be used in either the office or the operating room. Once a biopsy has confirmed diagnosis, many patients with recurrent leukoplakia choose to transition their care into the office so that they can limit need for trips to the operating room.
Make an Appointment
Contact the Johns Hopkins Voice Center by calling 443-997-6467 (443-997-OHNS).