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Cordectomy versus arytenoidectomy in the management of bilateral vocal cord paralysis.

Our objective was to assess the effectiveness of transoral laser cordectomy and laser arytenoidectomy and to compare the results with a view to respiratory and phonatory function and deglutition. Twenty-eight patients with bilateral vocal cord paralysis were included in a prospective study. Eighteen patients had cordectomy, and 10, arytenoidectomy. Lung function tests and voice analysis were performed preoperatively and postoperatively. Subclinical aspiration was determined by endoscopic evaluation of the larynx during deglutition. The results were compared to determine the relative effectiveness of both surgical methods. Flow volume spirograms documented equally improved flow rates in both groups. The final voice evaluation revealed that maximum phonation time, peak sound pressure levels, and frequency range were reduced in all 28 patients, but the phonatory results varied considerably in each group. Subclinical aspiration was noticed in 5 of 10 patients after arytenoidectomy, but in none of 18 patients after cordectomy. Four of 6 previously tracheostomized patients were decannulated within 2 weeks after surgery, while the other 22 patients had no perioperative tracheostomies. We conclude that transoral laser cordectomy and arytenoidectomy are equally effective and reliable in the management of the restricted airway. Phonatory outcome is not predictable with either surgical procedure. Cordectomy is easier and faster to perform, and subclinical aspiration is not encountered with this procedure.

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