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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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  • Writer's pictureValentina Carlile DO

Reinke's edema: what are the times and purposes of osteopathic treatment?


Reinke's edema: what are the times and purposes of osteopathic treatment?

The non-muscular part of the vocal cord, just below the surface, is called Reinke's space. Specifically, this is the layer just under the surface covering of the vocal cords; composed of cells, special fibers and extracellular matrix and; has a key role in the vibration of the vocal cords, and its inflammatory state, expressed through swelling, is what is called Reinke's edema.


Reinke's edema is a condition that mostly affects the female population and almost always occurs in long-term smokers.


Scientific literature suggests that it can also occur as a result of excessive use of the voice, thyroid disease, hormonal changes, stomach acid reflux, but there is no real evidence on these factors. Reinke's edema does not disappear after quitting smoking, it can only stop growing in size, the irritation will continue.


A vocal cord that has swelling cannot and cannot vibrate as it usually does, and will therefore produce a different sound, it will be low and hoarse. At the same time there will be shortness of breath.


What exactly happens is an accumulation of gelatinous substance in Reinke's space.

Since Reinke's edema is a benign condition, related to incorrect lifestyles, the first thing to do is to eliminate these by correcting them appropriately, therefore stopping smoking, treating reflux, correcting incorrect vocal use.


Speech therapy plays a fundamental role in correcting vocal attitudes and in the case of surgery, in rehabilitating more adequate vocal management, immediately after post-surgical vocal rest.

The surgical treatment, if necessary, involves micro phonosurgery to remove the material deposited in Reinke's space (gelatinous substance).


Osteopathy, in full synergy with speech therapy before and/or post-surgery, especially through its specific treatment of laryngeal manipulation, aims to rebalance all those structural imbalances that have conditioned and guided throughout the period of permanence of the edematous condition a demanding, and absolutely disadvantageous from an ergonomic point of view, use of the vocal instrument, thus facilitating the recovery and functional rehabilitation carried out by the speech therapist

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