Reinke’s Edema (Polypoid Corditis)

What is it?
Reinke’s edema, also known as polypoid corditis, is an expansion of the soft layer underlying the surface of the vocal folds most responsible for normal voice production (the superficial lamina propria).  Reinke’s edema is most commonly a result of smoking or another environmental irritant and causes a swollen appearance of the vocal folds.  Patients typically have a raspy voice with a lower pitch than normal.

How is it treated?
Voice therapy can be initiated to try to improve the hoarseness related to Reinke’s edema. Ultimately, patients who are unhappy with their voice require surgical reduction of the abnormal layer in the operating room. Office based laser surgery at the Voice Clinic of Indiana can be effective for some patients.  Smoking cessation is important to improve voice after surgery, or the Reinke’s edema will recur and the voice will lower in pitch and hoarse again.