Enlargement or dilation of capillaries on the surface of the vocal folds. Some believe this to be an estrogen effect similar to “spider veins” that one might see on the legs, for example. At BVI we think of these as mainly being another manifestation of overuse of the voice, and a response to ongoing injury of the vocal folds. Once established, capillary ectasia may cause symptoms of reduced vocal endurance and exaggerated premenstrual huskiness. CE may also increase the risk of vocal fold bruising (hemorrhage) and hemorrhagic polyp formation. Many affected individuals, however, may “coexist” with their capillary ectasia when armed with appropriate information about this disorder and through carefully managing amount and manner of voice use. When indicated, capillary ectasia is easily corrected via vocal fold microsurgery.
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