Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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It is possible that the main title of the report Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

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.

Supporting Organizations

British Paediatric Orphan Lung Disease


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1600 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
Tel: (404)639-3534
Tel: (800)232-4636

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311

NIH/National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

31 Center Drive, MSC 2320
Communication Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20892-3456
Tel: (301)402-0900
Fax: (301)907-8830
Tel: (800)241-1044

Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis Foundation

12 Ashwood Court
Lawrenceville, NJ 8648
Tel: (609)530-1443
Fax: (609)530-1912
Email: or

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report.

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

Last Updated:  3/15/2016
Copyright  2013 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.