Objective: To describe the pattern of laryngeal recovery and its relationship to voice improvement following thyroplasty.
Design: We used a 5-point scale to rate 5 laryngeal characteristics preoperatively and 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months following thyroplasty.
Setting: A university-affiliated health center.
Patients: Forty-four patients who underwent thyroplasty to correct incomplete glottal closure.
Results: Improved glottal closure and reduced supraglottic activity followed thyroplasty. Although evidence of postoperative irritation (erythema, edema, or hematoma) was present in many patients, it resolved within the first 1 to 4 weeks postoperatively in 22 (73%) of the 30 subjects available for follow-up at 3 months following thyroplasty.
Conclusions: Thyroplasty is an effective procedure in correcting incomplete glottal closure and works to reduce excessive supraglottic activity in some patients. Recovery from postoperative vocal-fold irritation occurs rapidly, typically between the first week to first month, depending on the type and severity of irritation. These findings may help explain variations in postoperative voice improvement.