Long-term Voice Outcomes of Early Thyroplasty for Unilateral Vocal Fold Paralysis Following Aortic Arch Surgery

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2016 Jul;125(7):559-63. doi: 10.1177/0003489416636127. Epub 2016 Mar 11.


Objective: To describe this institution's experience with and the long-term outcomes of early type 1 thyroplasty for unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP) following surgery on the aortic arch.

Study design: Retrospective chart review with telephone questionnaire.

Setting: Academic tertiary care center.

Subjects and methods: Three hundred forty-eight patients with UVFP following surgery on the aortic arch since 1999 were identified; 40 were available for follow-up. The number of revision procedures following initial thyroplasty was ascertained, and the Voice Handicap Index (VHI) was administered by telephone. The hypothesis that early thyroplasty produced voice outcomes and revision rates comparable to injection laryngoplasty was established prior to the initiation of data collection.

Results: Six out of the 40 patients (15%) required revision thyroplasty following their initial procedure. Mean VHI of all patients was 36.0 (SD, 27.2). Mean VHI was significantly different in the 18 to 39 age group (13.1) when compared to the 40 to 59 (51.8) and 60+ (37.7) age groups (P = .013). Mean follow-up since initial thyroplasty was 46.5 months (SD, 42.2).

Conclusions: In the setting of aortic arch surgery with injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve, early thyroplasty produces voice outcomes comparable to those achieved in the literature with repeated injection and delayed thyroplasty and can be considered in select populations.

Keywords: reconstructive techniques; vocal cord movement; vocal fold paralysis; voice disorders; voice outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aorta, Thoracic / surgery*
  • Early Medical Intervention
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngoplasty*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Injuries / etiology
  • Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Injuries / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / etiology
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / surgery*
  • Voice
  • Voice Quality*
  • Young Adult