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Unusual case of Reinke’s oedema
  1. Raji Pillai1,
  2. Michael Sawaryn2,
  3. Talisa Ross1,3 and
  4. Jahangir Ahmed1
  1. 1Department of Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery, The Royal London Hospital, Bart's NHS Trust, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Anaesthesia, The Royal London Hospital, London, UK
  3. 3UCL Ear Institute, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Raji Pillai; drraji.r.pillai{at}


This case report describes a man in his mid 40s, with a history of chronic smoking, who presented with dysphonia. He underwent microlaryngoscopy and biopsy for a suspicious lesion on the anterior right vocal cord. Mask ventilation proved difficult on induction of general anaesthesia due to a solid lesion acting as a ball valve into the glottis. This mass was LASER debulked and sent for histopathology. This demonstrated a haematoma, likely traumatic in origin, with some polypoidal features, consistent with advanced Reinke’s oedema. Reinke’s oedema is a benign condition where chronic inflammation causes fluid accumulation within the vocal cords. Long-standing inflammation leads to disarrangement of the vocal cord lamina propria, causing fluid accumulation and thereby resulting oedema of the vocal cords. This process can subsequently lead to polyp formation and can cause gravelly voice. This case report describes the potential airway sequelae of this benign condition.

  • Otolaryngology / ENT
  • Anaesthesia
  • Dysphonia
  • Lasers

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  • Contributors RP, MS and TR were responsible for drafting of the text, sourcing and editing of clinical images, investigation results, drawing original diagrams and algorithms, and critical revision for important intellectual content. JA and TR gave final approval of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.