Bilateral vocal fold motion impairment: pathophysiology and management by transverse cordotomy

H K Kashima
Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology 1991, 100 (9 Pt 1): 717-21
Although bilateral vocal fold paralysis (BVFP) is an uncommon disorder, bilateral vocal fold motion impairment (BVFMI) resulting from a variety of laryngeal derangements is encountered with increasing frequency. Moreover, pure BVFP accounts for only a small proportion of BVFMI. When antecedent factors associated with BVFP are absent, recognition of BVFMI is often delayed and frequently overlooked. The requirements for assessment and successful management of BVFMI are 1) recognition of its presence, 2) identification of the constituent factors restricting vocal fold motion, 3) objective assessment of airway patency, and 4) selection of a reliable management plan. More often than not, two or more BVFMI-causing factors are present; only rarely is BVFMI attributable to a single vocal fold motion-limiting cause. The clinical and endoscopic examinations should evaluate the relative contributions of vocal fold paralysis, cricoarytenoid joint fixation, infiltrative disorders, and webs and synechiae that cause restricted vocal fold motion. The flow-volume loop examination documents airflow rate and volume and the site, nature, and severity of the obstructing lesion(s). This presentation describes the evaluation and rationale for management in BVFMI. The surgical techniques currently used to address BVFMI are compared to determine their respective merits and drawbacks, depending upon the constituent factors causing vocal fold motion limitation.

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