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Fauci undergoes vocal cord surgery to remove polyp

Virtually all Americans have heard Fauci's hoarse voice in recent months. Thursday morning, he had vocal cord surgery.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies before a House subcommittee on the coronavirus on July 31.Erin Scott / Pool via Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, had surgery to remove a polyp from his vocal cords Thursday morning, according to a source close to Fauci.

"He's home now and doing well," the source told NBC News.

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Unlike polyps in other parts of the body, a vocal fold polyp is not considered a sign of cancer, and there is no indication it increases the risk of cancer in the future. It usually develops after prolonged strain of the vocal cords, such as from yelling, singing or cheering.

As head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci has been among the most vocal in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has appeared before Congress and at news conferences as part of the White House coronavirus task force, as well as on a variety of news outlets and podcasts, and even on social media with celebrities.

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In general, patients who have a polyp removed from their vocal cords are advised not to speak at all for three to five days, and then to talk softly for several weeks.

Fauci, 79, was doing interviews with the media just this week, and is expected to be back to work "soon," according to the source.

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Monica Alba and Akshay Syal contributed.