Definition of Respiratory papillomatosis, recurrent
Respiratory papillomatosis, recurrent: Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis involves the growth of numerous warty growths in the larynx on the vocal cords in children and young adults.
A baby can contract recurrent respiratory papillomatosis by being contaminated with the human papilloma virus (HPV) during birth through the vaginal canal of a mother with genital warts (which are also due to HPV). Each year, about 300 infants are thus born with the virus on their vocal cords.
The treatment of recurrent respiratory papillomatosis is usually by surgical excision. As the name "recurrent respiratory papillomatosis" suggests, recurrences of laryngeal papillomatosis are very frequent. Remission may occur after several years.
Last Editorial Review: 7/1/2016