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Evolution of Vocal Fold Nodules from Childhood to Adolescence

      Summary

      Bilateral (quasi) symmetrical lesions of the anterior third of the vocal folds, commonly called vocal fold nodules (VFNs) are the most frequent vocal fold lesions in childhood caused by vocal abuse and hyperfunction. This study evaluates their long-term genesis with or without surgery and voice therapy. A group of 91 postmutational adolescents (mean age, 16 years), in whom VFNs were diagnosed in childhood, were questioned to analyze the evolution of their complaints. Thirty four of them could be clinically reexamined by means of the European Laryngological Society-protocol, including a complete laryngological investigation and voice assessment. A total of 21% of the questioned group (n = 91) had voice complaints persisting into postpubescence with a statistically significant difference (P ≤ 0.001) between boys (8%) and girls (37%). VFNs were still present in 47% of the girls and 7% of the boys of the clinically evaluated group (n = 34). Analysis of the data before and after puberty shows that the variables gender, allergy, and degree of dysphonia (“G”) in childhood enable a fairly correct prediction of persisting voice complaints in adolescence (sensitivity of 89% and specificity of 67%). The results of this study show a clearly different evolution for both sexes, with significant higher long-term risks for dysphonic girls with allergy.

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