Characterization of chronic vocal fold scarringin a rabbit model

Bernard Rousseau, Shigeru Hirano, Roger W. Chan, Nathan V. Welham, Susan L. Thibeault, Charles N. Ford, Diane M. Bless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


Summary The purpose of the current study was to assess the histologic and rheologic properties of the scarred vocal fold lamina propria during a chronic phase of wound repair in a rabbit model. Eighteen rabbit larynges were scarred using a procedure that involved stripping the vocal fold lamina propria down to the thyroarytenoid muscle, using 3-mm microforceps. The approximate dimension of injury to the vocal fold was 3 x 1.5 x 0.5 mm [length x width x depth]. At 6 months postoperatively, histologic analysis of the scarred and control lamina propria in eight of these rabbits was completed for collagen, procollagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. Compared with control samples, scarred tissue samples revealed fragmented and disorganized elastin fibers. Additionally, collagen was significantly increased, organized, and formed thick bundles in the scarred vocal fold lamina propria. Measurements of the viscoelastic shear properties of the scarred and control lamina propria in the remaining 10 rabbits revealed increased elastic shear modulus (G') in 8 of 10 scarred samples and increased dynamic viscosity (η') in 9 of 10 scarred samples. Although rheologic differences were not statistically significant, they revealed that on average, scarred samples were stiffer and more viscous than the normal controls. Histologic data are interpreted as indicating that by 6 months postinjury, the scarred rabbit vocal fold has reached a mature phase of wound repair, characterized by an increased, organized, and thick bundle collagen matrix. Rheologic data are interpreted as providing support for the potential role of increased, thick bundle collagen, and a disorganized elastin network on shear stiffness and dynamic viscosity in the chronic vocal fold scar. Based on these results, a 6-month postoperative time frame is proposed for future studies of chronic vocal fold scarring using the rabbit animal model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-124
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Histology
  • Rabbit model
  • Rheology
  • Vocal fold scar
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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