Vocal fold polyps are typically caused by acute and chronic trauma to the microvasculature of the superficial lamina propria (SLP). Shearing stresses that are induced by hyperfunctional glottal sound production lead to bleeding into the SLP and malformed neo-vascularized masses. Because the primary process does not involve the epithelium, the authors designed a technique to resect hemorrhagic polyps by epithelial cordotomy with partial or complete preservation of the vocal fold epithelium. This approach is different from the traditional microsurgical resection of hemorrhagic polyps by amputation with or without the carbon dioxide laser. Forty patients who underwent microlaryngoscopic resection of hemorrhagic polyps from 1996 through 1998 were reviewed retrospectively. Thirty-six of the 40 procedures were by epithelial cordotomy and subepithelial removal of the polyp contents. Sixteen of 36 were assisted by a subepithelial infusion of saline and epinephrine, and all were 3 mm to 6 mm. Four of 40 polyps were amputated; all of these were less than 3 mm and were pedicled on a narrow base. Cold instruments were used exclusively in all 40 patients. Postoperative laryngeal stroboscopy within 2 weeks revealed improved mucosal wave propagation and improved glottal closure in all 33 patients in whom postoperative strobovideolaryngoscopy was available. The epithelial cordotomy technique was introduced to minimize disturbance of normal SLP and epithelium. Despite the hemorrhagic nature of these lesions, cold instruments could be used exclusively with facility due to careful microdissection between the polyp and the residual normal SLP and the enhanced hemostasis provided by the subepithelial infusion of saline and epinephrine. The rapid return to improved glottal function is the result of this ultra tissue-sparing technique.
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