A sequential anesthesia technique for surgical repair of unilateral vocal fold paralysis

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7 Scopus citations


Thyroplasty with arytenoid adduction, a combined procedure for treatment of unilateral vocal fold paralysis, is typically performed under local anesthesia with sedation to allow for intraoperative voice assessment. However, the need for patient immobility and suppression of laryngeal responses to surgical manipulation can make sedation-analgesia challenging. We describe our first 26 consecutive cases undergoing thyroplasty and arytenoid adduction with a standardized technique consisting of a combination of general anesthesia with tracheal intubation followed by sedation-analgesia. Most patients (69 %) were women, with age of 53 ± 15 years (mean ± SD). Neck surgery was the cause of vocal fold paralysis in 50 % of patients. Initially, general anesthesia was maintained with desflurane and remifentanil with dexmedetomidine added just before tracheal extubation. During the sedation-analgesia phase, patients received infusions of remifentanil and dexmedetomidine. Duration of general anesthesia and sedation-analgesia phases was 162 ± 68.2 and 79 ± 18.3 min, respectively. Mean (SD) wake-up time was 8.0 ± 4.0 min after desflurane discontinuation. Extubation occurred without coughing, bucking, or agitation in 96 % of patients. All the patients were able to phonate appropriately and remained comfortable after emergence. This technique allowed improved surgical conditions with reduced patient discomfort and may be advantageous for other laryngeal and neck surgeries in which intraoperative patient feedback is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1078-1081
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Anesthesia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Arytenoid adduction
  • Dexmedetomidine
  • Remifentanil
  • Thyroplasty
  • Vocal fold paralysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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