Unilateral Vocal Fold Paralysis With Large Posterior Glottic Gap: Is Arytenoid Procedure Necessary?

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2022 Aug;131(8):859-867. doi: 10.1177/00034894211045637. Epub 2021 Sep 17.


Objectives: For unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP) with large posterior glottic gap medialization laryngoplasty (ML) + arytenoid adduction (AA), ML + adduction arytenopexy (AApexy), and ML alone using prosthesis with posterior extension are possible solutions. This study was carried out to elucidate the controversy among these solution options.

Methods: Retrospective cohort. Tertiary referral center. One hundred forty patients with UVFP with large posterior glottic gap. Group 1 had 30 patients with ML + AA; Group 2 had 25 patients with ML + AApexy; Group 3 had 29 patients with ML using Isshiki prosthesis; Group 4 had 26 patients with ML using Montgomery prosthesis; Group 5 had 30 patients with ML using prosthesis with large posterior extension. Glottic closure using videolaryngostroboscopy, GRBAS, VHI-30, EAT-10, acoustic and aerodynamic analysis was carried out pre- and 1-year-postoperatively.

Results: Preoperatively there was no significant difference in any parameters studied among all study groups (P > .05). Except F0, speaking F0 and EAT-10, all other parameters in acoustic and aerodynamic analysis, glottic closure, GRBAS, and VHI-30 scores were significantly better postoperatively in Groups 1 and 2 compared to Groups 3 to 5 (P < .05).

Conclusions: In patients with UVFP and large posterior glottic gap, ML + AA and ML + AApexy seem to do better subjectively and objectively, acoustically and aerodynamically, when compared to ML using prosthesis with and without large posterior extension. ML alone does not appear to close posterior glottic gap. Therefore, it is a better and more reasonable option to perform arytenoid procedure when there is large posterior glottic gap in UVFP.

Keywords: adduction arytenopexy; arytenoid adduction; medialization laryngoplasty; thyroplasty; vocal cord paralysis.

MeSH terms

  • Arytenoid Cartilage / surgery
  • Humans
  • Laryngoplasty* / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis* / surgery
  • Vocal Cords
  • Voice Quality