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Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1996 Mar;105(3):189-200.

Sulcus vocalis: a rational analytical approach to diagnosis and management.

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Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.


The term sulcus vocalis has been applied to a spectrum of disorders ranging from minor vocal fold indentations to destructive lesions causing severe dysphonia. To clarify the pathophysiology and to develop a more rational approach to treatment, we report a series of sulcus patients including 20 surgical cases. Clinical and histopathologic analysis produced a clinically useful classification: type 1 is a physiologic variant accentuated by atrophy but with intact lamina propria; types 2 (sulcus vergeture) and 3 (sulcus vocalis) are characterized by severe dysphonia, loss of vibratory activity, and destruction of the functional superficial lamina propria. These latter cases respond favorably to microsurgery designed to remove destroyed tissue, release scar contracture, and promote mucosal redraping by regional undermining. Further study of the extracellular matrix of the superficial lamina propria (Reinke's space) might indicate a common pathway in the pathogenesis of sulcus deformities and other related benign vocal fold lesions.

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