JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Voice Outcomes Following Posterior Cordotomy With Medial Arytenoidectomy in Patients With Bilateral Vocal Fold Immobility.

IMPORTANCE: Voice quality-of-life (VQOL) and perceptual voice outcomes are presumed to worsen following posterior cordotomy with medial arytenoidectomy for bilateral vocal fold immobility (BVFI); however, subjective and objective voice outcomes are not well studied in this postsurgical patient population.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate VQOL and perceptual voice outcomes following posterior cordotomy with medial arytenoidectomy for BVFI.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Retrospective medical record review of 15 patients with BVFI who underwent posterior cordotomy with medial arytenoidectomy at a tertiary care academic hospital from 2009 to 2012.

INTERVENTIONS: Suspension microlaryngoscopy was performed to expose the posterior glottis. A posterior cordotomy and medial arytenoidectomy was performed anterior to the vocal process of the vocal fold in a medial to lateral fashion.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Data included age, sex, tracheostomy status, number of cordotomies, and voice outcomes. Voice-Related Quality of Life (VRQOL) and Consensus Auditory Perceptual Evaluation of Voice (CAPE-V) data were collected preoperatively and postoperatively surrounding a single procedure. Comparisons within a single group were performed with a paired t test. Statistical significance was determined at P ≤ .05.

RESULTS: Eight patients (53%) were male, and 7 (47%) were female. Six patients (40%) required a tracheotomy at some point during treatment, 4 were successfully decannulated. For all 15 patients, the mean VRQOL scores improved 12 points from 47.33 to 59.33 after posterior cordotomy (P = .12). Mean CAPE-V overall severity scores in 13 patients increased 26 points after posterior cordotomy with medial arytenoidectomy from 38.12 to 62.77 (P = .01), indicating further deviance from normal.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: To our knowledge, this is the first study to compare VQOL with perceptual voice outcomes following posterior cordotomy with medial arytenoidectomy in a series of patients with BVFI. Patients who underwent posterior cordotomy in this study had significantly reduced perceptual voice outcomes with unchanged VQOL. While postcordotomy patients have a dysphonia that is noticeable to voice professionals, most patients in this study subjectively felt as though their voice improved after surgery. Surgeons should be aware of these factors when counseling patients considering cordotomy for BVFI.

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