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Evaluation And Treatment Of The Unilateral Paralyzed Vocal Fold

H. Bryan Neel, Stephen G. Harner, Michael S. Benninger, Roger L. Crumley, Charles N. Ford, Wilbur J. Gould, David G. Hanson, Robert H. Ossoff, Robert T. Sataloff

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The evaluation and treatment of patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis have evolved as improvements in objective measurements of phonatory function and new modalities for treatment have developed. A thorough history, physical examination, subjective voice evaluation, objective voice analysis, and electromyography are used to make a diagnosis, determine the cause, and plan treatment. The goal of treatment of the patient with a unilateral vocal fold paralysis is to restore normal phonatory function without aspiration. Multiple modalities have developed to allow for restoration of nearly normal phonatory function, and these include voice therapy alone or in combination with injection medlalization, laryngoplastic phonosurgery, or laryngeal reinnervation. Otolaryngologists should be familiar with the incidence, cause, evaluation, and state-of-the-art treatment of unilateral vocal fold paralysis to optimize patient care and avoid suboptimal results often seen with antiquated or Inappropriate treatment.