Botox has a reputation for assisting patients aesthetically — like reducing the appearance of wrinkles on someone’s face for example — but it can also be used in a number of other treatments. For spasmodic dysphonia patient Carol Buchman, Botox preserves her ability to speak.
“I’d find that my voice was tightening and that I couldn’t get the words out,” Buchman explained. “I went on a medical journey to figure out what was wrong, trying various medical specialists.”
Buchman was diligent. She continued researching possibilities and trying interventions — like meditation and speech pathology exercises — but her work kept coming up short.
She was eventually diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, which raised the question… what is it?
Buchman’s laryngologist, Dr. Sandra Stinnett, explained that spasmodic dysphonia is rather rare disorder that typically develops in women who are 30 to 50 years old. She described the disorder as intermittent spasms of the vocal cords that cause the voice to get strangled.
“It’s not pain. It’s just like pushing air through a closed straw,” Buchman said when describing the feeling associated with spasmodic dysphonia.
The disorder has had an impact on Buchman’s life in a number of ways. It has caused frustrations with routine situations — like answering a phone call or teaching her elementary school students. In time, fatigue became an issue and her speech was not being understood as easily as before.
Botox is used to deaden the nerves that cause the spasms, resulting in a smoother voice. Patients typically come for treatments every three months.
Dr. Stinnett and UT Methodist Physicians Head and Neck Surgery provide spasmodic dysphonia patients in the Mid-South the opportunity to get treatment for the disorder locally.
Have Questions About Airway, Swallowing and Voice Disorders?
Understanding your health is important, and we are here to help.