Vocal fold immobility: Retrospective study of 229 cases

Xavier León, M. P. Venegas, C. Orús, M. Quer, E. Maranillo, J. R. Sañudo

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A retrospective study of the unilateral and bilateral vocal fold immobility cases diagnosed at our hospital between 1985 and 1998 was carried out. Of the 229 cases studied, vocal fold immobility was bilateral in 58 patients (25%), unilateral right in 60 (26%), and unilateral left 111 (49%). The most frequent etiologies in the bilateral cases were thyroid surgery (38%) and prolonged intubation (31%); idiopathic cases (32%) and thyroid surgery (23%) in the unilateral right cases; and idiopathic cases (28%) and extralaryngeal tumors (22%) in the unilateral left cases. Clinical compensation was achieved in more than 85% of cases of unilateral immobility when the etiology was idiopathic or due to surgical damage to the recurrent or vagus nerves, 70% when it was a prolonged intubation, 56% in neurological patients and 38% in extralaryngeal tumors. In patients with bilateral vocal fold immobility, 14% did not require any treatment, 34% had a permanent tracheostomy, and 52% recovered adequate naso-oral ventilation after surgery (tracheostomy only in 12 patients and arytenoidectomy in 18 patients).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486-492
JournalActa Otorrinolaringologica Espanola
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2001


  • Arytenoidectomy
  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Thyroplasty


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