Paralysis vs Paresis

The larynx – commonly called the voice box – is an organ in your neck that is involved in breathing, sound production, and protecting the windpipe against food accidentally going down it. It is an extremely delicate and well-balanced set of muscles, and any abnormal nerve input can cause vocal cord paresis or paralysis. But what is the difference between paresis and paralysis?

Paralysis is the total interruption of nerve impulses, which results in no movement of the muscle and is a very serious issue. Paresis, on the other hand, is the partial interruption of nerve impulses resulting in weakened or abnormal motion of the laryngeal muscles.

Paralysis and paresis can happen at any point of a person’s life, and affects both genders and all races. The effect of the damage varies drastically from person to person – a mild vocal fold paresis can mean the end of a singer’s career, but only have a marginal effect on a computer programmer.

At Alexandria Otolaryngology Associates, we are dedicating to educating our patients on all aspects of their ears, noses and throats. To find out more about vocal cord paralysis and paresis, click here to visit our online library.