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Rheumatol Int. 2013 Mar;33(3):777-81. doi: 10.1007/s00296-011-2214-2. Epub 2011 Nov 16.

Bamboo nodes associated with mixed connective tissue disease as a cause of hoarseness.

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Department of Pedaudiology and Phoniatrics, Medical University Hannover, Hannover, Germany.


Vocal fold lesions related to autoimmune diseases are rheumatoid nodules and, to a lesser extent, bamboo nodes. Mostly transverse, they are located in the middle third of the vocal cord and exhibit a yellowish appearance. The characteristic shape of these lesions led to their name. These vocal fold deposits may interfere with the normal vibratory cycle during phonation and thus may be an unusual cause of hoarseness. We present a 43-year-old woman with known mixed connective tissue disease and a dysphonia. Laryngostroboscopy showed bamboo nodes as described above. We applied several laryngeal injections of cortisone as described previously in the literature. Since this treatment did not lead to a sufficient voice improvement, we attempted to surgically remove the deposits. After the surgery, the voice improved considerably. In all patients with rheumatic diseases who suffer from a rough, breathy, or unstable voice, a laryngostroboscopic examination should be done. If, however, a bamboo node lesion of the vocal folds is found by the laryngologists, an associated autoimmune disorder must be assumed, and adequate diagnostic procedures have to be initiated. Local laryngeal injections (1-3 times) with steroids should be the first line of therapy. In unsuccessful cases, subsequent surgery can be a useful treatment of bamboo nodes to stabilize and improve voice quality.

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