Long-term Voice Outcomes of Early Thyroplasty for Unilateral Vocal Fold Paralysis Following Aortic Arch Surgery

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To describe this institution’s experience with and the long-term outcomes of early type 1 thyroplasty for unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP) following surgery on the aortic arch.

Study Design:

Retrospective chart review with telephone questionnaire.


Academic tertiary care center.

Subjects and Methods:

Three hundred forty-eight patients with UVFP following surgery on the aortic arch since 1999 were identified; 40 were available for follow-up. The number of revision procedures following initial thyroplasty was ascertained, and the Voice Handicap Index (VHI) was administered by telephone. The hypothesis that early thyroplasty produced voice outcomes and revision rates comparable to injection laryngoplasty was established prior to the initiation of data collection.


Six out of the 40 patients (15%) required revision thyroplasty following their initial procedure. Mean VHI of all patients was 36.0 (SD, 27.2). Mean VHI was significantly different in the 18 to 39 age group (13.1) when compared to the 40 to 59 (51.8) and 60+ (37.7) age groups (P = .013). Mean follow-up since initial thyroplasty was 46.5 months (SD, 42.2).


In the setting of aortic arch surgery with injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve, early thyroplasty produces voice outcomes comparable to those achieved in the literature with repeated injection and delayed thyroplasty and can be considered in select populations.

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