Long-term Surveillance Following Intralesional Steroid Injection for Benign Vocal Fold Lesions

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Abstract

Importance

The short-term outcomes of vocal fold steroid injection (VFSI) are well documented. However, few studies have reported the long-term outcomes following VFSI.

Objective

To investigate the incidence rates of symptom recurrence and secondary interventions following VFSI for benign vocal fold lesions.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This prospective cohort study was conducted at a tertiary referral medical center in Taipei, Taiwan. The cohort included 189 patients with vocal fold lesions who had received VFSI as the primary treatment between August 2011 and September 2013.

Exposures

All participants underwent VFSI.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Long-term surveillance was conducted through structured telephonic interviews and by reviewing medical charts every 6 months over a 2-year period. We assessed the 10-item voice handicap index, dysphonic symptoms, and whether the patients had received any additional interventions after the initial VFSI.

Results

The 189 participants (32 men and 157 women; mean [SD] age, 39 [10] years [range, 20-74 years] included patients who had undergone VFSI for vocal fold nodules (n = 72), polyps (n = 72), or mucus-retention cysts (n = 45). Following VFSI, 141 patients (74.6%; 23 men and 118 women; mean age, 39 years [range, 20-70 years]) showed positive response (ie, clinically significant symptom resolution without the need for additional procedures) and received long-term surveillance. The median follow-up period was 19.4 months, and 2 patients were lost to follow-up postoperatively within 1 year. The cumulative failure rates (subjective symptom recurrence plus secondary treatments) at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after VFSI were 12%, 17%, 24%, and 32%, respectively. When the initial response rate to VFSI (141 of 189, 74.6%) was considered altogether, VFSI remained effective after 2 years in 50% of the initially recruited 189 patients. The highest rate of long-term effectiveness of VFSI occurred in vocal polyps (54%), followed by nodules (49%) and cysts (43%).

Conclusions and Relevance

This study demonstrates that VFSI can be beneficial in managing benign vocal lesions, especially when first-line treatments are unsuitable. However, the long-term results of this study clarify that a substantial number of patients experience symptom recurrence or receive subsequent interventions within 2 years after VFSI; this should be considered in medical decision making.

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