Impact on swallowing functions of arytenoid adduction in patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis

Kenichi Watanabe, Kazutaka Kashima, Takeshi Sato, Tomomi Machida, Shin Fukudo, Yukio Katori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Although the pathophysiology of swallowing dysfunction in patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP) remains uncertain, glottal insufficiency is known to be a possible major cause, and other factors due to vagus nerve or recurrent laryngeal nerve damage may contribute to dysphagia or aspiration. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of arytenoid adduction (AA) surgery on the swallowing functions of UVFP patients and to investigate the important role of glottic closure during swallowing. Methods: We prospectively analyzed the data of thirteen patients with UVFP who underwent AA in combination with medialization laryngoplasty (ML) for improving voice quality. The subjects received a series of examinations for not only voice function but also swallowing function and cough strength both preoperatively and approximately 6 months after surgery. The evaluations of voice function included the Voice Handicap Index and aerodynamic measures; the evaluations of swallowing function included the Eating Assessment Tool-10, liquid aspiration, a videofluorographic examination of swallowing study, and high-resolution manometry; and the evaluation of cough strength included the measurement of cough peak flow. All measurements before and after surgery were statistically compared and examined. Results: Considerable improvements in voice measures were observed after the procedure, as sufficient glottic closure was achieved during phonation and swallowing. In terms of swallowing evaluation, there were significant differences in the subjective assessment methods after the operation. Additionally, our intervention improved two cases of aspiration according to abnormal findings on the videofluorographic examination of swallowing. There was a significant difference in cough peak flow, with all participants having better values after surgery. High-resolution manometry revealed no significant differences between pre- and postsurgery in any parameters at the level of the mesopharynx or upper esophageal sphincter. Conclusion: The findings of our study suggest an important effect on the dysphagia of UVFP patients who undergo AA combined with ML. In addition, we revealed improvements in swallowing by strengthening incomplete glottic closure; thus, we consider that sufficient glottic closure must play an important role in swallowing function in patients with UVFP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-109
Number of pages8
JournalAuris Nasus Larynx
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb


  • Arytenoid adduction
  • Dysphagia
  • Framework surgery
  • Glottic closure
  • High-resolution manometry
  • Unilateral vocal fold paralysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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