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Sulcus Vocalis (Type III): Prevalence and Strobovideolaryngoscopy Characteristics.

OBJECTIVES: The reported prevalence of sulcus vocalis (SV)/type III, a pathologic groove in the vibratory margin of the vocal fold, varies greatly in the literature. Difficulties in visualizing the defect and a variety of descriptions have complicated the evaluation of SV. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of SV by reviewing strobovideolaryngoscopy (SVL) examinations in subjects with and without dysphonia.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective chart review.

METHODS: Charts and SVL images were reviewed for subjects with and without dysphonia and analyzed using standard statistical techniques.

RESULTS: SVL images were reviewed for 94 nondysphonia subjects and 100 dysphonia subjects. For all subjects, 19.6% had type I, 2.1% had type II, and 5.7% had type III/SV. Per vocal fold, 14.7% had type I, 1.3% had type II, 3.1% had type III/SV and 13.1% had scar. The prevalence of SV per subject was not significantly different between the two groups (8% of dysphonia subjects, 3.2% of nondysphonia subjects). Male gender, decreased amplitude, decreased waveform, and hypodyamic motion were significantly higher in the dysphonia SV subjects compared with the non-SV subjects. All other SVL characteristics were not significantly different in subjects with SV compared with non-SV subjects.

CONCLUSIONS: We report a prevalence of SV/type III at 3.1% (per vocal fold) and 5.7% (per subject). Higher frequencies of male gender and waveform abnormalities were seen in the dysphonia SV subjects only. There were no significant differences in nondysphonia subjects with or without SV.

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