Authors: Zeitels SM, Hillman RE, Desloge R, Mauri M, Doyle PB
Title: Phonomicrosurgery in singers and performing artists: treatment outcomes, management theories, and future directions
Source: Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology 2002 111: 21-40
Year: 2002
Research Design: Case Series

Phonomicrosurgery in performing artists has historically been approached with great trepidation, and vocal outcome data are sparse. The vocal liability of surgically disturbing the superficial lamina propria (SLP) and epithelium must be balanced with the inherent detrimental vocal effect of the lesion(s). A prospective investigation was performed on 185 performing artists who underwent phonomicrosurgical resection of 365 lesions: 201 nodules, 71 polyps, 66 varices and ectasias, 13 cysts, 8 keratotic lesions, 2 granulomas, 2 Reinke's edema, and 2 papillomas. Nearly all patients with SLP lesions reported improvement in their postsurgical vocal function. This subjective result was supported by objective acoustic and aerodynamic measures. All postsurgical objective vocal function measures fell within normal limits, including a few that displayed presurgical abnormalities. However, given the relative insensitivity of standard objective measures to assess higher-level vocal performance-related factors, it is even more noteworthy that 8 of 24 objective measures displayed statistically significant postsurgical improvements in vocal function. Such changes in objective measures mostly reflect overall enhancement in the efficiency of voice production. Phonomicrosurgical resection of vocal fold lesions in performing artists is enjoying an expanding role because of a variety of improvements in diagnostic assessment, surgical instrumentation and techniques, and specialized rehabilitation. Most of these lesions are the result of phonotrauma and arise within the SLP. Successful management depends on prudent patient selection and counseling, ultraprecise technique, and vigorous vocal rehabilitation. Furthermore, an understanding of the vocal function and dysfunction of this high-performance population provides all otolaryngologists who manage laryngeal problems with valuable information that they can extrapolate for use in their practices.

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