Inflammatory reaction to hyaluronic acid: A newly described complication in vocal fold augmentation

Laura M. Dominguez, Kathleen M. Tibbetts, C. Blake Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: To establish the rate of inflammatory reaction to hyaluronic acid (HA) in vocal fold injection augmentation, determine the most common presenting signs and symptoms, and propose an etiology. Study Design: Retrospective chart review. Methods: Patients injected with HA over a 5-year period were reviewed to identify those who had a postoperative inflammatory reaction. Medical records were reviewed for patient demographic information, subjective complaints, Voice Handicap Index-10 (VHI-10) scores, medical intervention, and resolution time. Videolaryngostroboscopy examinations were also evaluated. Results: A total of 186 patients (245 vocal folds) were injected with HA over a 5-year period, with a postoperative inflammatory reaction rate of 3.8%. The most common complaints in these patients were odynophagia, dysphonia, and dyspnea with vocal fold erythema, edema, and loss of pliability on videolaryngostroboscopy. All patients were treated with corticosteroids. Return of vocal fold vibration ranged from 3 weeks to 26 months, with VHI-10 scores normalizing in 50% of patients. Conclusions: This reaction may be a form of hypersensitivity related to small amounts of protein linked to HA. Alternatively, extravascular compression from the HA could lead to venous congestion of the vocal fold. The possibility of equipment contamination is also being investigated. Further studies are needed to determine the etiology and best treatment. Level of Evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 2016 127:445–449, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-449
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Hyaluronic acid
  • inflammatory reaction
  • vocal fold injection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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