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Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis


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NORD is very grateful to Craig Derkay, MD, FACS, FAAP, Professor and Vice-Chairman, Department of Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery, Eastern Virginia Medical School; Director, Pediatric Otolaryngology, Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, for assistance in the preparation of this report.

Synonyms of Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis

  • Juvenile Laryngeal Papillomatosis
  • Laryngeal Papillomatosis

Disorder Subdivisions

  • Adult Onset Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (AORRP)
  • Juvenile Onset Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (JORRP)

General Discussion

Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) is a rare disorder characterized by the development of small, wart-like growths (papillomas) in the respiratory tract. The respiratory tract is the system of organs within the body that allows individuals to breathe. The respiratory tract includes the nose, mouth, throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), windpipe (trachea), various airway passages (bronchi), and lungs. Papillomas can develop anywhere along the respiratory tract, but most often affect the larynx and the vocal cords (laryngeal papillomatosis). Less often, the disorder affects the area within the mouth (oral cavity), trachea and bronchi. Only in rare cases do these growths spread to affect the lungs. Papillomas are noncancerous (benign), but in extremely rare cases can undergo cancerous (malignant) transformation. Although benign, papillomas can cause severe, even life-threatening airway obstruction and respiratory complications. In RRP, papillomas have a tendency grow back after they have been removed. RRP can affect children or adults and is caused by infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), although exposure to the virus alone is insufficient to cause the disease.

RRP is generally broken down into two subtypes – the juvenile-onset form and the adult-onset form. Juvenile cases develop before the age of 12 and are generally more aggressive and recurring. Children tend to need surgical treatment more often than adults. The disorder tends to improve in late childhood. Although aggressive disease is more common in children, adults can still potentially develop an aggressive form of the disorder.

Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis Resources

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