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J Voice. 2013 Mar;27(2):242-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2012.10.015. Epub 2013 Feb 11.

Type IIB thyroplasty for phonic tics in a pediatric patient with autism spectrum disorder: a case report.

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  • 1Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, 600 Highland Avenue, BX7375 Clinical Science CNTR-H4, Madison, Wisconsin 53792, USA.



Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are commonly associated with Tourette syndrome (TS). TS is classically associated with tic production. A tic is defined as sudden, brief, involuntary production of movement (motor tics) or sound (phonic tics).


Case report.


We present a case report of a 14-year-old boy with ASD and vocal tics. Vocal tic frequency was nearly 2000 per day and 90 dB in volume. He presented to our laryngology clinic after multiple failed attempts of pharmacologic management of vocal fold botulinum toxin injection. After evaluation in our clinic, we recommended a lateralization (type IIB) thyroplasty. An autologous cartilage graft from the superior thyroid ala was used and held in place with a bioresorbable mesh. Using 4-0 prolene sutures, the mesh was secured in place. The operation was well tolerated with minimal signs of aspiration, and he was discharged to his home within 48 hours.


Six months postoperatively, there was 90% reduction in tic frequency and 50% reduction in intensity. Additionally, he has shown improved ability to converse with his peers, participate in school activities, and even has improved nutritional status.


Alteration of laryngeal geometry could serve as an effective site of intervention for intractable phonic tics. Reduction of phonic tic frequency and intensity may also stimulate language development in patients ASD. We also demonstrate additional use of bioresorbable plates in pediatric laryngeal framework surgery. Additional neurophysiologic studies are needed to explore the mechanism by which midline lateralization thyroplasty influences phonic tic generation.

Copyright © 2013 The Voice Foundation. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

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