Vocal Fold Paresis

Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2019 Aug;52(4):637-648. doi: 10.1016/j.otc.2019.03.008. Epub 2019 May 11.


This article discusses vocal fold paresis as a separate and distinct condition from vocal fold paralysis. The signs and symptoms of paresis may be different and less obvious than those for paralysis, so this condition is often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed. Elements necessary to heighten clinical suspicion are included to assist in educating practitioners on these subtle findings. Once paresis is suspected, associated respiratory or sensory abnormalities also should be sought, because these may change the treatment plan when recognized. Utility of laryngeal electromyography is discussed along with potential treatment options for both the motor and often-present sensory symptoms.

Keywords: Glottic incompetence; Laryngeal electromyography; Sensory neuropathy; Vocal fatigue; Vocal fold paralysis; Vocal fold paresis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Paresis / diagnosis*
  • Paresis / etiology
  • Paresis / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Stroboscopy
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / diagnosis*
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / etiology
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / therapy
  • Vocal Cords / physiopathology*