• Vocal fold;
  • animal model;
  • larynx;
  • microflap;
  • laryngeal videostroboscopy.


Objectives/Hypothesis To determine the most suitable animal model for experimental studies on vocal fold surgery and function by a histological comparison of the microflap surgical plane and laryngeal videostroboscopy (LVS) in different species of animals. A second goal was to determine how the layered vocal fold structure in humans and three different animal species affects surgical dissection within the lamina propria.

Study Design Prospective laboratory.

Methods Three larynges each from dogs, monkeys, and pigs were compared with three ex vivo human larynges. Microflap surgery was performed on one vocal fold from each larynx. Both the operated and nonoperated vocal folds were examined histologically using stains specific for elastin, mature collagen, and ground substance. Based on the histological results, LVS was performed on two dogs and two pigs after first performing a tracheotomy for ventilation and airflow through the glottis. Arytenoid adduction sutures were placed to facilitate vocal fold adduction.

Results The distributions of the collagen and elastin fibers were found to differ among the species with concentrations varying within species. Unlike the human vocal fold, which has a higher elastin concentration in the deeper layers of the lamina propria, both the pig and the dog had a thin band of elastin concentrated just deep to the basement membrane zone in the superficial layer. Just deep to this thin band, the collagen and the elastin were less concentrated. The monkey vocal fold had a very thin mucosal layer with less elastin throughout the mucosa. The microflap dissections in each of the dog, pig, and human vocal folds were similar, being located within that portion of the superficial lamina propria where the elastin and mature collagen are less concentrated. The microflap plane in the monkey vocal fold was more deeply located near the vocalis fibers. Despite the differences in elastin concentration, the microflap plane in both the dog and the pig was found to be similar to that in humans. The dog anatomy was much more suitable for microsuspension laryngoscopy and stroboscopic examination. The dog vocal folds vibrated in a similar fashion to human vocal folds with mucosal waves and vertical phase differences, features not seen in the pig vocal folds.

Conclusions Based on both the histological and stroboscopic results, the dog was believed to be a more suitable animal model for studies on vocal fold surgery, acknowledging that no animal's laryngeal anatomy is identical to that of the human. The dog LVS model presented allows for longitudinal laryngeal studies requiring repeated examinations at multiple time periods with histological correlation applied at sacrifice.