Long-term follow-up of fat injection laryngoplasty for unilateral vocal cord paralysis.Laryngoscope. 2002 Jul; 112(7 Pt 1):1235-8.L
The objective of the study was to evaluate the results of autologous fat injection laryngoplasty in the long-term management of unilateral vocal cord paralysis.
A retrospective chart review and clinical voice re-evaluation of patients treated for unilateral vocal cord paralysis with autologous fat injection at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (Iowa City, IA) between May 1992 and September 1999.
The data analyzed included patient demographics, early and long-term vocal outcomes, additional surgical treatments, and patient survival.
Fifty patients were treated with fat injection laryngoplasty, which included 44 treated for unilateral vocal cord paralysis. Thirty-one of the patients had fat injection as their primary procedure for permanent voice restoration. Eight patients treated had preoperative and postoperative voice data available. Using the GRBAS subjective voice assessment scale (0, normal; 3, severely abnormal), mean grade improved from 2.1 to 1.3 and breathiness improved from 1.4 to 0.5, at a mean period of 52 days. Thirteen of the 31 patients (41%) required additional procedures to achieve acceptable vocal outcomes. The median time to failure for these patients was 163 days. The initial treatment failure rate at 2 years was 30%, and the rate reached 45% by 4 years.
Although fat injection laryngoplasty reliably improves the voice over the short term, the long-term voice outcome is unpredictable. Additional surgeries to deal with subsequent vocal deterioration are common. The role of autologous fat injection laryngoplasty in the modern era is limited.