Viscoelasticity of rabbit vocal folds after injection augmentation

Ake Dahlqvist, Ola Gärskog, Claude Laurent, Stellan Hertegård, Luigi Ambrosio, Assunta Borzacchiello
Laryngoscope 2004, 114 (1): 138-42

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Vocal fold function is related to the viscoelasticity of the vocal fold tissue. Augmentation substances used for injection treatment of voice insufficiency may alter the viscoelastic properties of vocal folds and their vibratory capacity. The objective was to compare the mechanical properties (viscoelasticity) of various injectable substances and the viscoelasticity of rabbit vocal folds, 6 months after injection with one of these substances.

STUDY DESIGN: Animal model.

METHODS: Cross-linked collagen (Zyplast), double cross-linked hyaluronan (hylan B gel), dextranomers in hyaluronan (DHIA), and polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon) were injected into rabbit vocal folds. Six months after the injection, the animals were killed and the right- and left-side vocal folds were removed. Dynamic viscosity of the injected substances and the vocal folds was measured with a Bohlin parallel-plate rheometer during small-amplitude oscillation.

RESULTS: All injected vocal folds showed a decreasing dynamic viscosity with increasing frequency. Hylan B gel and DiHA showed the lowest dynamic viscosity values, and vocal folds injected with these substances also showed the lowest dynamic viscosity (similar to noninjected control samples). Teflon (and vocal folds injected with Teflon) showed the highest dynamic viscosity values, followed by the collagen samples.

CONCLUSION: Substances with low viscoelasticity alter the mechanical properties of the vocal fold to a lesser degree than substances with a high viscoelasticity. The data indicated that hylan B gel and DiHA render the most natural viscoelastic properties to the vocal folds. These substances seem to be appropriate for preserving or restoring the vibratory capacity of the vocal folds when glottal insufficiency is treated with augmentative injections.

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