What are the Symptoms of Laryngeal Papillomatosis

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 11, 2011

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Quick Bites

  • Hoarseness, or a strained or breathy voice is a symptom.
  • Size and placement of the tumours dictate the change in the person's voice.
  • Breathing difficulties may occur but more commonly are found in children.
  • In babies and small children the symptoms include a weak cry.

Papillomas are benign epithelial tumors that are caused by infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). They are the most common benign neoplasms affecting the larynx and upper respiratory tract. Malignant degeneration to squamous cell carcinoma can occur, but is very rare. The overall prevalence ranges from 2 per 100,000 adults to 4.5 per 100,000 children. Thus, over 10,000 Americans suffer from respiratory papillomas.

Laryngeal papillomas are similar to verrucae on the skin (common wart) and condyloma acuminatum, or genital warts. Infection with the virus is ubiquitous. Using highly sensitive detection methods such as the polymerase chain reaction, estimates of infection with HPV range from 60 to 80% of women of childbearing age. Why some infected people develop clinical expression of papilloma (respiratory, genital, or cutaneous) and some people never develop clinical disease remains uncertain.

The reality is that some individuals appear to be susceptible to the virus and others do not. Although some individuals can acquire the virus through intimate contact, the virus can be transmitted from mother to fetus and laryngeal (respiratory) papillomatosis is NOT considered a sexually transmitted disease.

Symptoms of Laryngeal Papillomatosis

Symptoms of Laryngeal Papillomatosis

Symptoms of papilloma vary based on the severity of disease and your voice demands. You will possibly notice:

  • Hoarseness in your speaking voice
  • Hoarseness (irregular, inconsistent quality) in your professional voice (singing, voiceover, etc)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A sensation of a foreign body in the throat
  • Hearing two pitches at the same time
  • Decreased range (no longer hitting higher notes easily)
  • Inability to sing quietly
  • Throat discomfort, pain, or tightness
  • Neck pain

In children, symptoms are different and may include:

  • Weak cry
  • Episodes of choking
  • Hoarseness
  • Poor growth/failure to thrive

Because of their propensity to recur after surgical removal, the disorder is often referred to as recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP).

Image: Getty

Read more articles on Laryngeal Papillomatosis.



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