Laryngocele

Laryngocele, air-filled bulge,herniation, larynx, voice box, vocal cords
An air-filled bulge (herniation) that develops within the tissues of the larynx (voice box), often among the folds of the VOCAL CORDS. Laryngocele may be present at birth as a CONGENITAL ANOMALY or develop later in life, often as a consequence of persistent pressure against the structures of the THROAT. A congenital laryngocele may not cause symptoms until environmental stressors that create increased laryngeal pressure cause it to enlarge. Musicians who play wind instruments are particularly vulnerable to laryngoceles, as are people with OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA. Occasionally a laryngeal tumor causes a laryngocele.

Hoarseness, a feeling that there is something caught in the throat, dry COUGH, and a soft lump visible on the external throat are among the most common symptoms. A large laryngocele can cause stridor (a high-pitched noise with inhalation) and difficulty swallowing. The diagnostic path typically includes COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY (CT) SCAN or MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING (MRI) of the throat and laryngoscopy (examining the inside of the throat through a lighted, flexible scope). Because a laryngocele presents a prime opportunity to trap BACTERIA that cause INFECTION as well as the potential to interfere with BREATHING and swallowing, the treatment of choice is an OPERATION through an incision in the neck to close or remove the laryngocele.
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