The differential diagnosis of laryngeal ankylosis versus paralysis is occasionally difficult in patients with immobile vocal folds. Eight patients with acute and chronic evidence of vocal fold immobility were investigated by intraoperative electromyography (IEMG) during planned microlaryngoscopy. Bipolar hook wire electrodes were inserted into the thyroarytenoid muscle, of which the electrical activity was monitored during neuromotor blockade and emergence from anesthesia. The normal side and the side with ankylosis or stenosis showed normal IEMG activity. There was progressive recruitment of larger motor units during recovery from muscle relaxation. Patients with laryngeal paralysis failed to show such recruitment patterns. Thus, IEMG can be used as a diagnostic tool during operative laryngoscopy to differentiate neuromotor injury from anatomic causes of vocal fold immobility. The advantages of IEMG are its ease of application and certainty of electrode position. It can also be used to monitor recurrent nerve integrity and detect early laryngospasm. Further IEMG clinical study is warranted.
- intraoperative electromyography
- laryngeal ankylosis
- laryngeal paralysis