The purpose of this retrospective study was to compare the preoperative and intraoperative diagnosis of benign vocal fold lesions for consistency. The diagnosis was made in 221 consecutive patients with benign vocal fold lesions for which a microlaryngoscopy was carried out in a general ENT-clinic. The preoperative diagnosis was obtained by both white halogen and stroboscopic light. The intraoperative diagnosis was obtained by direct microscopic visualization and palpation of the vocal folds. In 36% of the patients, the preoperative diagnosis was changed intraoperatively. In 31% of the patients, a lesion was missed at the preoperative examination and a lesion was diagnosed only during microlaryngoscopy. Bilateral lesions were found in 53% of the patients preoperatively, and in 82% of the patients intraoperatively. Specially intracordal lesions constituted a diagnostic pitfall. Because the preoperative and intraoperative diagnosis often differed, both the patients and the ENT-surgeon must keep an open mind about what may need to be done at surgery.