Vocal Fold Paresis and Voice Outcomes following Vocal Fold Mass Excision.

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OBJECTIVE: To correlate the surgical results of vocal fold mass excision with pre-operative existence of vocal fold paresis.

METHODS: Data were collected on 66 patients who underwent excision of benign vocal fold masses from 2015 to 2020. The pre- and post-operative strobovideolaryngoscopy (SVL) examinations for all patients included were evaluated blindly by three otolaryngologists using THE Voice-Vibratory Assessment with Laryngeal Imaging (VALI) Form for scar severity, mucosal wave, free edge contour, glottal closure, and phase closure. The success of mass excision surgery was determined based on the presence of the following criteria post-operatively: 1) improved mucosal wave motion 2) improved phase closure or glottic closure 3) improved free edge contour and 4) lack of worsening of vocal fold scar severity. Surgery was considered successful if 3 or 4 criteria were met, partially successful if 1 or 2 criteria were met, and unsuccessful if no criteria were met. The percent recruitment of the thyroarytenoid, posterior cricoarytenoid (PCA), and cricothyroid muscles were used evaluated the severity of paresis as mild (70-99% recruitment), moderate (40-60% recruitment), or severe (0-39% recruitment). VHI-10 scores were used as subjective measures of pre- and post-operative voice.

RESULTS: Sixty-six patients (26 male, 40 female) were included in this study, with a mean age of 37.25 ± 16.6 (range 18-78). Twelve patients had no evidence of VF paresis noted during the initial clinical evaluation; and 52 patients had paresis and had undergone laryngeal EMG. 81% of these patients had mild paresis, 12.8% had moderate paresis, and 5.8% had severe paresis. Based on pre- and post-operative strobovideolaryngoscopy, there was improvement in mucosal wave in 44.9% of cases, improvement of phase or glottic closure in 85.4% of cases, improved free edge contour in 95.5% of cases, and worsening of scar in 38.5% of cases. 39.6% of surgeries were fully successful, 33.3% of surgeries were partially successful, and 27.1% were not successful. There was a significant correlation between female gender and vocal fold paresis (P = 0.048). Paresis severity did not correlate with complete or partial surgical success (P = 0.956), pre-operative VHI-10 scores (P = 0.519), post-operative VHI-10 scores (P = 0.563), or strobovideolaryngoscopy parameters. Unilateral and bilateral paresis did not correlate with any other parameter of surgical success (P >0.05).

CONCLUSION: This study suggests that there is no correlation between pre-operative vocal fold paresis and voice outcomes after mass excision surgery, that the majority of mass excision surgeries (72.9%) are successful based on improvement in stroboscopic parameters, and that the proportion of patients with moderate and severe paresis is consistent across all laryngeal nerves.


This article was published in Journal of Voice.

The published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.07.014.

Copyright © 2021 The Voice Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc.

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Journal of Voice

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