Nodules, cysts and polyps of the vocal cords are benign conditions. They all present as persistent hoarseness. Vocal chord nodules are like callouses and occur due to voice over use or misuse. They rarely need to be removed and can be treated with voice therapy.
Polyps can be unilateral or bilateral and have several causes. The most common cause of vocal cord polyps is smoking. An underactive thyroid condition known as myxedema can also cause vocal cord polyps. The initial treatment of polyps is secession of smoking or in the case of myxedema, thyroid hormone replacement. When conservative manage fails to shrink the polyps, they can be removed by microsurgical techniques and in some cases laser surgery.
Cysts are usually caused by blockage of a small mucus gland on the surface of the vocal cord. These usually require microsurgery which is an outpatient procedure requiring general anesthesia.
Hoarseness that persists for more than a few weeks is abnormal and needs to be evaluated by a qualified specialist.