A synthetic gel could be used to restore function to scarred vocal cords
Whether caused by intubation during surgery, laryngeal cancer, lesion removal, or simply overuse, vocal cord scarring can limit or even eliminate some peoples' ability to speak. This is because the scar tissue is stiff, and doesn't allow the vocal cords to vibrate adequately. Some doctors have tried to soften the tissue using materials from the fields of plastic surgery and dermatology, but the treatment doesn't work in all cases, and the effects are said not to last very long. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Medical School, however, are developing a new approach - an injectable gel that mimics vocal cord tissue.