Objective To describe the technique of combined Gore-Tex medialization thyroplasty with arytenoid adduction and to determine the long-term vocal outcome of patients treated for unilateral vocal cord paralysis with this procedure.
Study Design A retrospective chart review and patient reevaluation for patients treated at The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics between May 1995 and June 1999.
Methods The review addressed patient demographics, perioperative and long-term complications, and voice outcomes. Details of the surgical technique are provided within the manuscript.
Results Seventy-two Gore-Tex medialization procedures were completed. Arytenoid adduction was included in 22 of these procedures. This subset of patients was compared with the patients treated with Gore-Tex alone. No major postoperative complications occurred in either group. Preoperative and postoperative voice and videostroboscopy data were available for 19 arytenoid adduction patients and 25 Gore-Tex alone patients. On a seven-point scale (6 [severely abnormal] → 0 [normal voice]), the average patient rating of voice dysfunction improved from 4.2 to 1.6 (arytenoid adduction) and 4.5 to 2.8 (Gore-Tex alone). Maximum phonation time improved from 6.9 seconds to 16.7 seconds in the arytenoid adduction group. Subjective voice assessment employing the four-point GRBAS scale (3 [severely abnormal] → 0 [normal]) identified average improvement from an overall grade of 2.1 to 0.8 arytenoid adduction and 2.2 to 1.5 in the Gore-Tex alone group. Improvement was identified in the vocal quality of breathiness from 1.9 to 0.2 (arytenoid adduction) and 1.9 to 0.9 (Gore-Tex alone).
Conclusions The combined technique of Gore-Tex medialization thyroplasty and arytenoid adduction provide functional results that appear to exceed the improvement attained with medialization alone.