Reinke’s edema

Reinke’s edema also known as polypoid degeneration or polypoid corditis is defined as the swelling of the vocal folds due to fluid collection in the superficial lamina propria of vocal folds that is also known as Reinke’s space.
Reinke’s edema causes the vocal folds to bilaterally swell giving them an uneven, sac like appearance. They appear pale and translucent.

Age/sex group affected by Reinke's edema

Reinke’s edema can occur at any age group. Both sexes are equally affected.
Reinke’s edema is more noticeable in women but can be overlooked in men.

Races affected by Reinke's edema

Individuals of any race can be affected by Reinke’s edema.

Causes of Reinke's edema

The major common causes of Reinke’s edema are as following
• Smoking is the major cause
• Gastroesophageal reflux
• Hormonal changes such as hypothyroidism
• Chronic voice abuse.

Reinke's edema sign and symptoms

• Reinke’s edema leads to bilateral swell giving them uneven, sac-like appearance.
• They appear to be pale and translucent.
• Low-pitched, husky voices.
• Sometimes the swelling in Reinke’s edema can also impair breathing.

Investigations of Reinke's edema

Examining the throat can help to diagnose the swelling of vocal folds.
Histopathology is also helpful to diagnose.
Biopsy of vocal cords may be used to diagnose in some cases.

Treatment of Reinke's edema

The first line of treatment is to remove the cause and the major causes which act as a source of irritant are as follows
• Smoking
• Rest to vocal cords where there is overuse of voice
• Treatment of gastroesophageal reflux.
The second line of treatment is surgery. But surgery is ineffective in complete restoration of the voice.
Speech therapy is given for proper voice production.

Differential diagnosis of Reinke's edema

• Vocal cord nodules
• Vocal cord polyps

Complications of Reinke's edema

Reinke’s edema of vocal cords is converted into a precancerous condition if left untreated at an early stage.

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