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Quick Facts

Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Jul 2020| Content last modified Jul 2020
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What is recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP)?

"Recurrent" means something keeps happening again and again. "Respiratory" refers to the throat, voice box, and windpipe down to the lungs. "Papillomatosis" refers to wart-like growths caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

RRP is a rare condition that causes one or more growths on a child’s voice box.

  • RRP is most common in children 1 to 4 years old

  • It causes a change in the child's voice, and sometimes difficulty breathing

  • Doctors usually do surgery to remove the growths

  • Many children will need several surgeries throughout childhood, because the growths keep coming back

What causes RRP?

RRP is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the same virus that causes genital warts. RPR can be passed from an infected mother with genital warts through the birth canal to her baby at birth. Luckily, most infants who are infected with HPV don't get RRP.

What are the symptoms of RRP?

  • Weak cry

  • Hoarse or scratchy voice

  • Difficulty breathing if the growths have spread to the lungs or windpipe

How can doctors tell if my child has RRP?

Doctors usually look down your child's throat with a viewing tube and look at your child’s voice box If they see a growth, they'll remove a small bit of it to look at under a microscope.

How do doctors treat RRP?

  • Doctors usually do surgery or use a laser to remove the growths

Several treatments may be needed. Doctors sometimes also give antiviral medicines.

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