Introduction: Journal of Voice Wound Healing Collection

Christopher Apfelbach, BM, MS, CCC-SLP
Marianna Rubino, BA, MFA, MS, CCC-SLP
Katherine Verdolini Abbott, PhD, CCC-SLP
Communication Sciences and Disorders
University of Delaware

Of the many areas of research in voice science and pathology, wound healing, tissue engineering, and cellular biology have experienced perhaps the most meteoric rise of any subspecialty within the past two decades. Characterizations of vocal fold histology and histopathology have advanced steadily since Dr. Minoru Hirano and his colleagues first described the layered "body-cover" arrangement of vocal fold tissue in the 1970s. Early histological studies revealed concentrations of molecules--collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid, fibronectin, and others--deposited in different vocal fold layers and serving different physiologic purposes, whether to hydrate, promote healing, or guard against traumatic effects of vocal fold impact stress in phonation.

Not until the early 2000s, however, did advances in cellular and molecular biology enable researchers to modulate inflammatory and wound healing processes directly. Widespread use of canine, porcine, and rabbit models increased our understanding of tissue responses to acute injury, phonotrauma, and toxin exposure at the cellular level, while the rise of bioscaffolds and other tissue engineering techniques fostered the hope that man-made vocal fold tissue was an imminent reality. Principles of wound healing imported from the exercise science literature also bore fruit in the early 2010s, underlining the importance of peri-operative voice therapy as an adjunct to surgical intervention.

Readers browsing this collection of articles on cellular and molecular biology, histology, tissue physiology, and wound healing will be excited to note the exponential growth already underway in these domains. The trajectory of this growth seems poised to open new horizons in basic science, surgical injectates, novel behavioral therapies based on tenets of inflammation and wound healing, and treatments for difficult-to-manage conditions such as vocal fold scar. We encourage you to watch this promising space as it continues to evolve.

The collection is subdivided into three subsections. These are "Vocal Fold Histology and Histopathology," "Wound Healing and Tissue Engineering," and "Molecular and Cellular Biology."