JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Arytenoid and posterior vocal fold surgery for bilateral vocal fold immobility

VyVy N Young, Clark A Rosen
Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery 2011, 19 (6): 422-7
21986801

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Many procedures exist to address the airway restriction often seen with bilateral vocal fold immobility. We review the most recent studies involving arytenoid and/or posterior vocal fold surgery to provide an update on the issues related to these procedures. Specific focus is placed on selection of the surgical approach and operative side, use of adjunctive therapies, and outcome measures including decannulation rate, revision and complication rate, and postoperative results.

RECENT FINDINGS: Ten studies were identified between 2004 and 2011. Modifications to the orginal transverse cordotomy and medial arytenoidectomy techniques continue to be investigated to seek improvement in dyspnea symptoms with minimal decline in voice and/or swallowing function. Decannulation rates for these approaches are high. Postoperative dysphagia appears to be less commonly observed but requires continued study. The use of mitomycin-C in these procedures has been poorly studied to date.

SUMMARY: Both transverse cordotomy and medial arytenoidectomy procedures result in high success rates. However, many questions related to these procedures remain unanswered, particularly with respect to preoperative and postoperative evaluations of voice quality, swallowing function, and pulmonary status. There is need for rigorous prospective clinical studies to address these many issues further.

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