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Yonsei Med J. 2014 Mar;55(2):499-507. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2014.55.2.499.

Prevalence of laryngeal disease in South Korea: data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2008 to 2011.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology and Institute of Health Sciences, Gyeongsang National University, 79 Gangnam-ro, Jinju 660-702, Korea.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of Benign Vocal Fold Lesion (polyp, cysts, nodules) and Leukoplakia in Korea.


The data from the 2008 to 2011 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, which were cross-sectional survey of the civilian noninstitutionalized population of South Korea. A survey team that included an otolaryngology residents, nurses, and interviewers moved with a mobile examination unit and performed laryngologic interviews and examinations of vocal folds using rigid telescopic laryngoscopy on survey participants over 19 years old (n=19636).


Laryngoscopic examination revealed normal results in 19251 (98.04%) of those included in the survey. Abnormal laryngoscopic findings were observed in 1.96% of the population examined, and vocal cord nodules were the most common abnormal finding. The prevalence of vocal cord nodules was 0.99-1.72%, the prevalence of vocal cord polyps was 0.31-0.55%, the prevalence of vocal cysts was 0.04-0.17%, and the prevalence of vocal cord leukoplakia was 0.07-0.21%. There was no significant correlation of linear trend of prevalence by year, and there were no significant differences in prevalence between males and females.


This is the first nationwide epidemiologic study to assess the prevalence of Benign Vocal Fold Lesion (polyp, cysts, nodules) and Leukoplakia by both the Korean Otolaryngologic Society and the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The results of this large epidemiologic study provide valuable information regarding the prevalence of voice disorders and the management of laryngologic diseases.


Prevalence; epidemiology; laryngeal diseases; risks; voice disorders

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