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Diagnostic tools in laryngology

Heman-Ackah, Yolanda D

Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery: December 2004 - Volume 12 - Issue 6 - p 549-552
doi: 10.1097/01.moo.0000144394.18003.03
Laryngology and bronchoesophagology

Purpose of review Laryngology has become recognized as a subspecialty within the field of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery over the course of the past 30 years. The evolution of laryngology stems primarily from our better understanding of the physiology of vocal production, society’s increased reliance on oral communication in industry, and the resultant demand for improvements in diagnostic and therapeutic protocols to enhance vocal performance. The purpose of this review is to describe current advances in diagnostic tools in laryngology that contribute to our understanding of vocal physiology and our ability to improve quality of life as it relates to vocal performance.

Recent findings Diagnostic tools in laryngology allow the clinician the ability to assess the vibratory function of the vocal folds, evaluate laryngeal structure and airway patency, assess glottal and pulmonary airflow, assess the neurologic integrity of the vocal folds, analyze the quality of the voice signal, and assess the degree of functional disability as it relates to laryngeal pathology.

Summary Primary advances in diagnostic laryngology include improvements in laryngoscopy techniques, imaging, electromyography, aerodynamic testing, acoustic analysis, and functional assessment, each of which is improving our ability to understand, diagnose, and treat a wider spectrum of voice, airway, and swallowing disorders.

Departments of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American Institute for Voice and Ear Research, Graduate Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Correspondence to Yolanda D. Heman-Ackah, American Institute for Voice and Ear Research, 1721 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, USA

Tel: 215 545 3322; fax: 215 790 1192; e-mail:

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.