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Effect of Voice Therapy as a Supplement After Reinnervation Surgery for Breathy Dysphonia Due to Unilateral Vocal Fold Paralysis

      Summary

      Objective

      To evaluate whether vocal function exercises (VFE) could be an adjunct treatment for patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP) who were not satisfied with their postoperative voices after reinnervation surgeries.

      Study Design

      Retrospective.

      Methods

      Medical records of the patients with UVFP who underwent laryngeal reinnervation between October 2011 and October 2014 were reviewed. Patients were classified into two groups: one received VFE according to patients’ desire (VFE group) and the other did not have voice therapy (control group). Effects of VFE were assessed by vocal fold vibration (regularity, amplitude and glottal gap), aerodynamic measurements (maximum phonation time (MPT) and mean airflow rate (MFR)), GRBAS scale, acoustic parameters (pitch range, pitch perturbation and amplitude perturbation quotients (PPQ, APQ), and noise-to-harmonics ratio (NHR)) and subjective evaluation by patients (Voice Handicap Index-10 (VHI-10)). Phonatory function was also compared between the two groups at three time points: before reinnervation surgery, before VFE, and after VFE.

      Results

      Thirty patients were enrolled (11 men, 19 women). The VFE group included eight patients, and 22 patients served as controls. In the VFE group, several parameters (amplitude, MPT, MFR, pitch range, APQ, and NHR) did not improve significantly after surgery, while all parameters examined improved significantly in the control group. After VFE, amplitude, glottal gap, MFR, B score, pitch range, and PPQ showed significant improvement, while the control group did not show a significant improvement except in VHI-10, during the corresponding period. Significant differences in G and B scores and VHI-10 between the two groups were observed at the third time point.

      Conclusions

      VFE may be used as an adjunct treatment for patients with UVFP who are not satisfied with their voices after reinnervation surgery. However, phonatory function after VFE may not reach the same level as for those who are satisfied with their voices after reinnervation surgery.

      Key Words

      Level of Evidence

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