Neuromuscular electrical stimulation of the cricothyroid muscle in patients with suspected superior laryngeal nerve weakness

Marco Guzman, Adam Rubin, Paul Cox, Fernando Landini, Cristina Jackson-Menaldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this retrospective case study, we report the apparent clinical effectiveness of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) in combination with voice therapy (VT) for rehabilitating dysphonia secondary to suspected superior laryngeal nerve (SLN) weakness in two female patients. Both patients failed or plateaued with traditional VT but had significant improvement with the addition of NMES of the cricothyroid muscle and SLN using a VitalStim unit. Stimulation was provided simultaneously with voice exercises based on musical phonatory tasks. Both acoustic analysis and endoscopic evaluation demonstrated important improvements after treatment. In the first patient, the major change was obtained within the primo passaggio region; specifically, a decrease in voice breaks was demonstrated. In the second patient, an improvement in voice quality (less breathiness) and vocal range were the most important findings. Additionally, each patient reported a significant improvement in their voice complaints. Neuromuscular laryngeal electrical stimulation in combination with vocal exercises might be a useful tool to improve voice quality in patients with SLN injury.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)216-225
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Voice
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cricothyroid muscle
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation
  • Superior laryngeal nerve
  • Surface electrical stimulation
  • Vocal folds paresis
  • Voice therapy

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