Restructuring the vocal fold lamina propria with endoscopic microdissection


  • Histological data was presented at the Middle Section of the Triological Society, Bonita Springs, Florida, January 10, 2009. The rheological data was presented at the 2013 Combined Sections Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, January 24, 2013.

  • Financial Disclosure: Karl Storz (Tuttlingen, Germany), Medtronic (Fridley, MN), Schoelly Fiberoptic, GmbH, Omniguide Laser (Cambridge, MA), and Biomet “OnPoint” (Jacksonville, FL) for provision of equipment. BioForm Medical (San Mateo, CA) for provision of Radiesse Voice Gel. The authors have no other funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.



The purposes of this preclinical study were to investigate histologic and rheologic outcomes of Microendoscopy of Reinke's space (MERS)-guided minithyrotomy and to assess its instrumentation.

Study Design

Human cadaveric and in vivo animal study.


Three human cadaveric larynges were treated with MERS-guided placement of Radiesse VoiceGel and immediately evaluated histologically for biomaterial location. In the second part of this investigation, two scarred porcine larynges were treated with MERS-guided placement of HyStem-VF and rheologically evaluated 6 weeks later. Student t tests determined differences in viscoelastic properties of treated/untreated vocal folds. Sialendoscopes and microendoscopes were subjectively compared for their visualization capacity.


MERS imaged the subepithelial area and vocal ligament, guiding both tissue dissection and biomaterial positioning. Sialendoscopes provided adequate visualization and feature incorporated working channels. Enhanced image clarity was created in a gas-filled rather than saline-filled environment, per rater judgment. Histological analysis revealed desirable biomaterial positioning with MERS. Per rheological analysis, viscoelastic properties of the MERS-treated porcine vocal folds compared to uninjured vocal folds 6 weeks following treatment did not statistically differ.


MERS-guided laryngoplasty using sialendoscopes yielded satisfactory biomaterial positioning in the short-term and normalized rheologic tissue properties in the long-term, contributing to proof of concept for MERS in the treatment of scarring. Strengths of MERS include direct, real-time visualization of Reinke's space and an ability to manipulate surgical instruments parallel to the vocal fold edge while maintaining an intact epithelium. Future work will explore the clinical utility of MERS for addressing scarring, sulcus vocalis, and other intracordal processes.

Level of Evidence

N/A Laryngoscope, 123:2780–2786, 2013