August 19, 2012

Singer Nicki Minaj with Strained Vocal Cords

Media has reported that pop star Nicki Minaj had to cancel upcoming concerts in England due to injured vocal cords.

She apparently saw a doctor who diagnosed "strained vocal cords" after an x-ray and recommended voice rest for a few days.

The singer apparently ignored this advice and sang in New York City on Aug 18 causing her voice to substantially worsen resulting in her decision to cancel her concerts this weekend.

Details of her vocal cord condition are sparse. However, based on the limited information provided, there's a few things I can guess at.

First off, an x-ray can NOT diagnose any type of vocal cord condition. The singer must have undergone a trans-nasal endoscopic procedure which is the ONLY way to visualize the vocal cord and diagnose any vocal problems.

Given the singer was instructed to rest her voice for "a few days," she most likely suffered from a mild acute laryngitis causing inflamed vocal cords. By ignoring advice to rest her voice, she potentially turned a mild laryngitis into a more severe laryngitis. She probably did not suffer from any physical problems on her vocal cords like nodules or polyps which would take weeks if not months to recover (not days) as happened to singers Adele and John Mayer.

Really, at this point, strict voice rest, hydration, acid reflux control, and steroids (ie, prednisone) would enable her to recover her normal voice ASAP.

Here's a picture of a severe laryngitis (left) compared a normal appearing vocal cords (right). Note that the vocal cords are swollen and red compared to normal pearly white and thin appearance.


Nicki Minaj cancels U.K. concerts due to strained vocal cords. NBC News 8/18/12

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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