Evaluation of Size, Laterality, and Location of Unilateral Vocal Fold Lesions on Voice Quality

Published:November 02, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.09.013



      The presence of a vocal fold mass implies high mechanical stress at the vocal fold base during vibration and an impaired glottic closure. However, evidence about its potential effects on diagnostic tools used in voice evaluation is lacking. We aimed to evaluate the impact of the location, laterality, and size of a unilateral unique vocal fold lesion on patient self-assessment questionnaires, acoustic-aerodynamic voice measures, and perceptual voice evaluation (GRBAS scale).


      A retrospective chart review involving patients with a diagnosis of a unique unilateral vocal fold lesion and a complete voice evaluation was performed. A total of 58 patients were enrolled and demographics, characteristics of the vocal fold lesion (size, laterality, and location), self-assessment questionnaires, acoustic-aerodynamic measures, and perceptual evaluation (GRBAS scale) were analyzed. Pearson correlation and ANOVA analysis were completed to evaluate the correlation between the clinical characteristics of the vocal fold mass and self-assessment questionnaires, and to compare the level of significance for the differences between the continuous variables between groups of patients once stratified according to the location or laterality of the vocal fold mass.


      Glottal Function Index was found to correlate with the location of the vocal fold mass (P < 0.05), however, no correlation was found when evaluating the Reflux Symptom Index or the Voice Handicap Index (P > 0.05). Patients with a lesion located in the anterior-middle 2/3 of the vocal fold were found to have a higher mean Glottal Function Index and (G) component of the GRBAS scale (P < 0.05). No differences were observed when analyzing the remaining self-assessment questionnaires or the acoustic-aerodynamic voice measures according to size, location, or laterality of the vocal fold lesion (P > 0.05).


      The size and location of unilateral vocal fold lesions were found to have no effect on the majority of measures analyzed in this study. This is the first study we know of to assess the effect that laterality of the vocal fold lesion may have on the self-assessment questionnaires, audio-perceptual, and acoustic-aerodynamic measures included in this study. Our study found no significant differences in regard to laterality. This may indicate that other factors (eg, stiffness of lesion, amount of extraneous muscle tension, etc) could have more of an impact on audio-perceptual, self-assessment questionnaires, and acoustic-aerodynamic measures. Further research with larger cohort sizes and possibly prospective analysis is needed.

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