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Outcomes of structural fat grafting for paralytic and non-paralytic dysphonia.

Aims of this prospective study were to evaluate the results of vocal fold structural fat grafting for glottic insufficiency and to compare the outcomes obtained in unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP) and congenital or acquired soft tissue defects in vocal folds. Sixty-six consecutive patients with breathy dysphonia, in 43 cases (aged 16-79 years) related to UVFP and in 23 cases (aged 16-67 years) related to vocal fold iatrogenic scar or sulcus vocalis, underwent autologous structural fat grafting into vocal folds. Lipoaspirates were centrifuged at 1200 g for 3 min to separate and remove blood, cell debris and the oily layer. The refined fat was injected under direct microlaryngoscopy in a multilayered way. The main outcome measures were grade, roughness, breathiness, asthenicity and strain (GRBAS) perceptual evaluation, maximum phonation time (MPT), self-assessed Voice Handicap Index (VHI), and voice acoustic analysis, considered pre-operatively and at 3 and 6 months after fat grafting. After surgery, MPT, VHI, G and B improved in both groups (p < 0.05). In particular, G and VHI functional subscales showed a significantly greater decrease in patients with UVFP (p < 0.05). The acoustic variables improved significantly only in the UVFP group (p < 0.005). From 3 to 6 months postoperatively, most variables showed a trend with further improvement. Vocal fold structural fat grafting was significantly effective in treating glottic insufficiency due to UVFP or soft tissue defects. Perceptual, acoustic and subjective assessments confirmed that patients with UVFP had better outcomes than those with soft tissue defects.

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