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Laryngoscope. 2001 Aug;111(8):1322-9.

Complications of type I thyroplasty and arytenoid adduction.

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1
Department of Otolaryngology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, U.S.A.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS:

Unilateral vocal fold paralysis resulting in glottal incompetence can cause significant morbidity attributable to impaired speech, swallowing, and ability to protect the airway. Type I thyroplasty in combination with arytenoid adduction is a proven technique for medialization of the paralyzed vocal fold but must be evaluated in light of potential complications following laryngeal framework surgery.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

The charts of 237 patients who underwent unilateral vocal fold medialization surgery between July 1, 1991, and August 30, 1999, at a tertiary care cancer referral center were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS:

There were 98 cases of type I thyroplasty alone and 96 cases of type I thyroplasty with arytenoid adduction. The two groups had similar patient characteristics. Mean time of surgery (45 vs. 73 min, P <.0001) and length of hospital stay (1.1 vs. 1.8 d, P <.0001) were increased when arytenoid adduction was performed. Overall improvement of symptoms was similar in both groups (93%-94%), but posterior glottic closure appeared subjectively improved when arytenoid adduction was used (P =.0054). Overall complication rates were slightly higher in the arytenoid adduction group (14% vs. 19%), primarily because of transient vocal fold edema and wound complications (9 vs. 19 cases), but the increase was not statistically significant (P =.1401). Complications warranting medical or surgical intervention occurred in 8% of cases. Two patients who underwent type I thyroplasty with arytenoid adduction required tracheotomy as a consequence of postoperative complications. The three patients who had extrusion of the implant underwent type I thyroplasty alone.

CONCLUSION:

Using the appropriate technique, the potential benefits of improved glottic function following type I thyroplasty with arytenoid adduction outweigh the small risk of significant complications observed.

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