Reinke Edema finding on positron emission tomography
Long-term cigarette smoke exposure has been described as an etiological factor in a myriad of aberrant conditions of the vocal folds, including carcinoma, and a range of benign responses, including Reinke edema (RE). Clinically, RE is described as unilateral or bilateral swelling of the entire vocal fold with hypermobility during phonation. 1 Although historically RE was thought to be a precancerous lesion, current thinking holds that RE is a benign process characterized by altered number and size of microvessels within the subepithelial space and compromised intercellular junctions, especially in basal and spinous layers. 2 Within the lamina propria, the generally organized collagen architecture is disrupted. 3 Cumulatively, these alterations to the delicate, layered structure of the vocal folds often lead to the characteristic rough, low-pitched voice found in RE. In severe cases, airway obstruction due to marked RE has been reported. ©2011 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.
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