Videolaryngostroboscopy (VLS) is a standard technique used for evaluating adult patients with dysphonia. However, while pediatric dysphonia affects 5% of children, children with dysphonia are traditionally examined with a flexible nasal endoscope. The purpose of this study was to determine whether VLS provides additional diagnostic yield in children.
A retrospective medical chart review was conducted from 2001 to 2006.
Tertiary care center.
Pediatric patients aged 3 to 17 years (mean age, 11 years) who presented with prolonged dysphonia. All patients were previously examined by flexible laryngoscopy and treated with speech therapy for a presumed diagnosis of vocal cord nodules.
Flexible or rigid VLS was performed.
Main Outcome Measure
The diagnosis per patient established after VLS.
Eighty patients were included in the study: 50 underwent rigid VLS; 28 underwent flexible VLS; and 2 did not tolerate either procedure. A total of 132 diagnoses were made, including 68 benign mucosal diseases (41 nodules, 15 polyps, 8 cysts, and 4 sulci), 41 inflammatory disorders, 11 functional disorders, 6 congenital disorders, 4 traumatic injuries, and 2 neurologic disorders. Many patients received more than 1 intervention for their dysphonia, including antireflux medication and speech therapy, but 16 patients also underwent phonomicrosurgery.
Patients with a history of prolonged dysphonia for whom treatment has failed should be referred for evaluation by VLS. Videolaryngostroboscopy elucidates subtle features of different disease processes; clarifies the differences between benign mucosal disorders that might require surgical intervention; and helps identify inflammatory processes that contribute to dysphonia. To our knowledge, these findings have not previously been reported in the pediatric population. Although most pediatric dysphonia can be attributed to benign nodules, our results show that inflammatory conditions and benign lesions other than nodules contribute to dysphonia and are often overlooked and undertreated.