Minithyrotomy with radiofrequency-induced thermotherapy for the treatment of adductor spasmodic dysphonia

Shaun C. Desai, Andrea M. Park, Rebecca D. Chernock, Randal C. Paniello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives/Hypothesis: A simple, safe and effective surgical alternative for treating adductor spasmodic dysphonia (ADSD) would appeal to many patients. This study evaluates a new option, using radiofrequency-induced thermotherapy (RFITT) of the thyroarytenoid muscle (TA) via the minithyrotomy approach to reduce the force of adduction. Methods: Fifteen dogs were used. In part 1, the optimal RFITT power settings, exposure time, probe location, and number of passes were determined. Part 2 compared laryngeal adductor pressures (LAPs) at baseline; immediately postintervention; and at 1, 3, or 6 months postintervention. Interventions included RFITT via the transcervical minithyrotomy approach (n = 15), transoral RFITT (n = 3), botulinum toxin (Botox) injection (n = 3), or no-intervention controls (n = 3). Postintervention induced phonation and histologic analyses were performed as well. Results: In the minithyrotomy RFITT group, the mean LAP was 30.3% of baseline immediately posttreatment. At 1, 3, and 6 months postoperatively, the mean LAPs were 24.9%, 44.8%, and 43.5%, respectively. Transoral RFITT reduced LAP to 56.6% of baseline immediately posttreatment, but returned to normal in the 1 and 3 month animals. The Botox injections dropped the LAP to 57% of baseline at 1 month, but returned to normal at 3 months. Mucosal waves, based on induced phonation stroboscopy, were present at the terminal date in all animals. Thirteen of 15 transcervical RFITT preparations (87%) showed no injury to the lamina propria, whereas 80% showed evidence of TA muscle atrophy and fibrosis. Conclusion: Minithyrotomy RFITT is a feasible technique that shows encouraging long-term results for the potential treatment of patients with ADSD. Level of Evidence: N/A. Laryngoscope, 126:2325–2329, 2016.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2325-2329
Number of pages5
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Spasmodic dysphonia
  • radiofrequency
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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