Laryngeal electromyography findings of vocal fold immobility in patients after radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma

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The clinical features of vocal fold immobility (VFI) after radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) have seldom been reported.


We retrospectively reviewed laryngeal electromyography (LEMG) and tumor study findings to elucidate the common clinical features of patients who presented with VFI after radiotherapy for NPC. The LEMG signals obtained from the cricothyroid and thyroarytenoid muscles were used to confirm superior laryngeal nerve (SLN) and recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury.


The medical records of 13 patients were reviewed and 11 of them had evidence of RLN injury. Six of the 11 patients also had SLN injury, indicating possible vagus nerve (VN) injury. Two patients had cricoarytenoid joint fixation without evidence of nerve injury. None of the nerve injuries were caused by skull base recurrence or tumor metastasis.


VFI is usually caused by nerve injury, but it is not a malignant sign of tumor recurrence or metastasis. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 36: 867–872, 2014

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