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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014 Mar;150(3):434-6. doi: 10.1177/0194599813520123. Epub 2014 Jan 16.

The incidence of premalignant and malignant disease in Reinke's edema.

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Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, UK.


Reinke's edema is a benign lesion of the vocal folds affecting the subepithelial space. As part of a study of the management of Reinke's edema, we aimed to determine the prevalence of dysplasia and malignancy in histologically proven Reinke's edema. A retrospective analysis of all laryngeal biopsies performed in north Glasgow, United Kingdom, between 2001 and 2010 was carried out. Clinical and pathological data from patients with histologically confirmed Reinke's edema were recorded with specific respect to the reporting of dysplasia and malignancy. From the 10-year cohort, a total of 3902 laryngeal biopsies were performed. In total, 189 patients (18 males and 171 females) had histologically proven Reinke's edema. Of this cohort, 170 (90%) had no dysplasia, 16 (8%) had mild dysplasia, 2 (1%) had moderate dysplasia, and 1 (<1%) had severe dysplasia. There was no malignancy reported. In our predominantly female smoking population, the epithelium appears to differentiate to benign Reinke's edema rather than malignancy. Patients can be reassured with regard to the low risk of malignancy in classic Reinke's edema.


Reinke’s edema; benign; dysplasia; larynx; malignancy

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