Vocal fold paresis (VFP) is a relatively common and often overlooked condition that can be difficult to diagnose based on the laryngeal examination alone. A retrospective review of the records of 50 consecutive adult patients with VFP was performed. In each case, the diagnosis of VFP was confirmed by laryngeal electromyography. The presenting symptoms were dysphonia (100%), vocal fatigue (76%), diplophonia (40%), and odynophonia (12%), and the findings were unilateral vocal fold hypomobility (50%), unilateral bowing (36%), and bilateral bowing (22%). Laryngoplasty and/or lipoinjection was performed in 54% of the subjects, and significant vocal improvement was achieved in 85%. VFP appears to be underdiagnosed because many VFP patients have compensatory hyperkinetic disorders at presentation. Although the diagnosis of VFP may be suspected based on the patient's symptoms and findings, the diagnostic sine qua non is laryngeal electromyography. In addition, surgical treatment for VFP appears to be safe and effective.
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