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Current role of stroboscopy in laryngeal imaging

Mehta, Daryush D.a,b; Hillman, Robert E.a,c,d

Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery: December 2012 - Volume 20 - Issue 6 - p 429–436
doi: 10.1097/MOO.0b013e3283585f04

Purpose of review To summarize recent technological advancements and insight into the role of stroboscopy in laryngeal imaging.

Recent findings Although stroboscopic technology has not undergone major technological improvements, recent clarifications have been made to the application of stroboscopic principles to video-based laryngeal imaging. Also recent advances in coupling stroboscopy with high-definition video cameras provide higher spatial resolution of vocal fold vibratory function during phonation. Studies indicate that the interrater reliability of visual stroboscopic assessment varies depending on the laryngeal feature being rated and that only a subset of features may be needed to be representative of an entire assessment. High-speed videoendoscopy (HSV) judgments have been shown to be more sensitive than stroboscopy for evaluating vocal fold phase asymmetry, pointing to the future potential of complementing stroboscopy with alternative imaging modalities in hybrid systems. Laryngeal videostroboscopy alone continues to play a central role in clinical voice assessment. Even though HSV may provide more detailed information about phonatory function, its eventual clinical adoption will depend on how remaining practical, technical, and methodological challenges will be met.

Summary Laryngeal videostroboscopy continues to be the modality of choice for imaging vocal fold vibration, but technological advancements in HSV and associated research findings are driving increased interest in the clinical adoption of HSV to complement videostroboscopic assessment.

aDepartment of Surgery, Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation, Massachusetts General Hospital – Harvard Medical School, Boston

bSchool of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge

cSurgery & Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Medical School

dInstitute of Health Professions, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Daryush D. Mehta, PhD, Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation, Massachusetts General Hospital, One Bowdoin Square, 11th Floor, Boston, MA 02114, USA. Tel: +1 617 643 2466; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.