Summary: In the past, bilateral vocal fold immobility (BVFI) occurred most commonly after thyroidectomy. However, no large series documenting the etiology of adult BVFI has been published within the past fifteen years. This study reviews the etiologic patterns of BVFI at our institutions. We compare BVFI from before and after 1980. We also review combined studies of unilateral vocal fold immobility (UVFI) to compare and unilateral versus bilateral etiologic trends. In comparison with previously published series, fewer cases of BVFI present today as a complication of thyroid surgery and more as the result of malignancies and nonsurgical trauma.