Spasmodic Dysphonia

The department of Otolaryngology is one of the only sites in Michigan listed by the Spasmodic Dysphonia Society for the treatment of this condition.

Spasmodic dysphonia is a voice disorder characterized by intermittent, involuntary spasms of the muscles of the larynx while talking or making any kind of vocal sound (phonation). If the disorder results in spasm of muscles that close the vocal folds together, it is called adduction. If muscles that open the vocal folds are affected, the disorder takes the form of abduction.

Adductor spasmodic dysphonia results in a strained, forced voice. With abductor dysphonia, the voice breaks and rapid loss of air causes an apparent breathiness.

Although surgery is still sometimes used to treat spasmodic dysphonia, it has decreased with the introduction of botulinum toxin (BOTOX) injections. This medication, which can be administered with little or no pain in an outpatient setting, temporarily (3-6 months) relaxes these muscles and prevents spasms. Every two to six months, the medication wears off and may have to be re-administered.

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