Recurrent laryngeal nerve reinnervation: is this the standard of care for pediatric unilateral vocal cord paralysis?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Ansa to recurrent laryngeal nerve reinnervation, otherwise known as a nonselective laryngeal reinnervation (NSLR), is growing in popularity for the management of pediatric unilateral neuronal vocal fold movement impairment (VFMI). In this chapter, we will review the current treatment options for neuronal VFMI and role that NSLR plays in the treatment algorithm.

Recent findings

In 2018, Bouhabel and Hartnick published a survey of fellowship trained pediatric otolaryngologists and found an increasing comfort level with NSLR. Respondents felt that NSLR resulted in favorable subjective and objective postsurgical voice outcomes. Furthermore, NSLR may decrease the risk of aspiration in children with neuronal VFMI. Although NSLR appears to work, the voice results are not perfect for all children. Further work is being done to understand which preoperative variables, such as age, time from injury, and preop laryngeal electromyography, may predict a better voice outcome.

Summary

A variety of treatment options exist for unilateral neuronal VFMI. Recent data and developments demonstrate the effectiveness of reinnervation as a potential first-line surgical intervention in children with unilateral neuronal VFMI.

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