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Some Aspects Of Vocal Fold Bowing

Shinzo Tanaka, Minoru Hirano, Keichi Chijiwa

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Bowing of the vocal fold frequently occurs in patients with vocal fold paralysis (VFP), those with sulcus vocalis, and those who have had laser surgery. Additionally, there are vocal folds that present bowing with no noticeable organic lesion. For the purpose of investigating the causes and mechanisms of vocal fold bowing, consecutive fiberscopic videorecordings of 127 patients with VFP, 33 with sulcus vocalis, 33 with laser surgery, and 33 with dysphonia having no clinically noticeable organic lesion were reviewed. Sixty-nine percent of the paralyzed vocal folds had bowing, and the occurrence of bowing was significantly related to the activity of the thyroarytenoid muscle as measured by electromyography. The cricothyroid activity had no significant relationship to vocal fold bowing. All vocal folds with sulcus presented with bowing. Thirty-five percent of the vocal folds that had had laser surgery had bowing. The extent of tissue removal was closely related to the occurrence of bowing. Twelve cases with no organic lesion had vocal fold bowing. Of these 12 patients, 8 were male and 9 were older than 60 years. Some aging process in the mucosa was presumed to be the cause of the bowing in this age group of patients without clinically noticeable organic lesions. Causes of vocal fold bowing in the younger group of patients without organic lesions were not determined in this study.