Systematic Review of Recurrence Rates of Benign Vocal Fold Lesions Following Surgery

Published:December 10, 2022DOI:



      Benign vocal fold lesions which include vocal fold nodules, polyps, cysts and other lesions often recur after surgery and require additional treatments. This systematic review of the current literature evaluated the effects of adjunctive therapies in addition to surgical resection on the recurrence rates of benign vocal fold lesions in adults.

      Study Design

      Systematic review.


      A search using relevant keywords in electronic databases was conducted. Extracted data include author, year of publication, patient demographics, diagnostic approach, lesion type, surgical procedure, type of adjunctive therapy and the rates of recurrence. Descriptive statistics were performed on the collected data when appropriate.


      Eleven articles were identified with a total of 1085 patients. The total 1101 lesions studied included 591 (53.7%) polyps, 125 (11.4%) nodules, 146 (13.3%) cysts, 184 (16.7%) pseudocysts, 19 (1.7%) midfold masses, 18 (1.6%) sulcus vocalis and 18 (1.6%) varices. Besides surgery, adjunctive therapies included voice therapy, steroid injection and reflux medication. There were 141 reported lesion recurrences, with an average recurrence rate of 13.0%. The recurrence rate in studies with adjunctive therapies was 7.14%, and in studies with no adjunctive therapies it was 24.44%.


      Available evidence suggests that adjunctive therapies following surgery are associated with decreased lesion recurrence rates. However, due to differences in sample size, inconsistent reporting of lesion characteristics, heterogeneity of adjunctive therapies, variability in follow-up time across studies, and other factors, it is not possible to determine exactly which adjunctive therapies are of significant benefit and which lesion types may benefit the most.

      Key Words

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