JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Surgery for pediatric vocal cord paralysis: a retrospective review.

To determine the outcome of surgical procedures for bilateral vocal cord paralysis in children, we performed a retrospective review of children under 18 years of age with bilateral vocal cord paralysis and a previous tracheotomy who underwent a primary procedure at a single tertiary care institution with an aim of decannulation. The primary outcome measure was the operation-specific decannulation rate (OSDR). The overall decannulation rates, as well as morbidity rates, were also recorded. Fifty-two children met the inclusion criteria (mean age at time of primary surgery, 6.2 years; SD, 5 years). Vocal cord lateralization procedures combined with a partial arytenoidectomy achieved the highest OSDR (17/24 or 71%). This OSDR was statistically higher than the OSDRs for CO2 laser cordotomy or arytenoidectomy procedures (OSDR, 5/17 or 29%, p = .008), for isolated arytenoidopexy procedures (OSDR, 1/4 or 25%, p = .000004), or for posterior costal cartilage graft procedures (OSDR, 3/5 or 60%, p = .0004). Neither of the 2 children who underwent isolated arytenoidectomy achieved primary decannulation. The incidence of aspiration following posterior cartilage graft procedures was 15% (2/15). Subanalysis by age failed to reveal differences in OSDR. We conclude that vocal cord lateralization procedures with partial arytenoidectomy afford the highest OSDR among primary procedures for pediatric vocal cord paralysis. The CO2 laser procedures, while having limited success as a primary procedure, are effective for revision.

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