What is Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis?
Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (RRP), also known as Laryngeal Papillomatosis, is a disease of the vocal cords and the airway caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
It consists of benign (non-cancerous) growths that develop in the airway passages, most commonly on and around the vocal cords. The most common symptom of RRP is hoarseness, which is caused by the growths on the vocal cords interfering with normal function of the vocal cords. In more severe cases, the disease can spread to the lungs or trachea, and can obstruct the airway, causing difficulty breathing. RRP is best diagnosed by a laryngologist (voice doctor) performing high resolution videostroboscopy of the vocal cords.
What are Treatment Options for Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis?
The main treatment for RRP involves surgical removal of the papillomas. Sometimes, medications and certain antibody therapies can be used in conjunction with surgery to help control more severe cases of RRP.
The best treatment is PREVENTION: vaccination with the HPV vaccine before exposure to HPV may help prevent the development of RRP down the line. The role of the HPV vaccine is less clear in people who already have RRP, but there are some early studies that suggest that getting the HPV vaccine may help your immune system fight RRP better and slow down the progression of the disease.
As the name implies, RRP has a tendency to come back even after effective medical and surgical treatment. In fact, most people with this condition will require more than one procedure. Some people can expect to eventually clear up after a few treatments, but others may require regular “clean-up” or maintenance procedures.
Finding the Right Specialist
If you suffer from RRP, it’s important to have a voice specialist at your side who has the right expertise to help ensure the best voice outcomes from your procedures. As a fellowship trained laryngologist, Dr. Rafii has expertise in performing minimally invasive laser removal of papillomas conveniently in the office without the need for general anesthesia using the latest available technology, and has extensive experience in using voice preserving techniques to get you the best possible outcomes.
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of RRP, call or message us today for a comprehensive voice evaluation with Dr. Rafii.