A suture lateralisation (SL) instead of an endolaryngeal tissue ablation procedure under endoscopy has been utilised to treat bilateral vocal fold immobility (BVFI) since 1980. However, mechanical fixation (MF) of the cricoarytenoid joint (CAJ) has continually challenged the effectiveness of glottic dilatation both in the SL procedure and the tissue ablation procedure. From 2007 to 2015, a total of 38 patients with BVFI underwent 40 exo-endolaryngeal suture lateralisation (exoeSL) procedures and three were diagnosed with MF in our hospital.
For these MF, we introduced an external approach method to release the CAJ followed by a similar exoeSL procedure. The CAJ release procedure enabled the preservation of the endolaryngeal mucous membrane (ELM) and consequently spared the use of laser surgery. All three CAJ release procedures led to decannulations (one patient) or improvement of dyspnoea (two patients). The difference between the exoeSL and the endo-exolaryngeal suture lateralisation (endoeSL) procedure is discussed based on their effectiveness in MF management.