Sulcus Vocalis Workup

Updated: Jul 17, 2020
  • Author: John Schweinfurth, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Other Tests

Refer patients with symptoms of hoarseness, loss of range, or voice fatigue with no obvious laryngeal pathology to a laryngologist for further evaluation, preferably to an otolaryngologist with special interest and training in diagnosis and treatment of voice disorders. Sulcus vocalis is a challenging rare disorder and often is best treated by a subspecialist.

A laryngologist usually employs a team approach to the diagnosis and treatment of voice disorders (eg, speech pathologist, singing voice specialist) and has a variety of specialized endoscopes that allow for detailed examination of the larynx.

Videostroboscopy is an important tool used by the laryngologist. This imaging system is controlled in part by the patient's vocal pitch, allowing for slow-motion video recording of vocal fold vibration. Examination of the true vocal fold reveals a linear depression or an area of incomplete closure. Videostroboscopy reveals an area of decreased mucosal wave corresponding to the sulcus and more clearly shows associated incomplete closure.

Other diagnostic studies commonly employed by the laryngologist include acoustic and airflow measurements.

  • Acoustic analysis reveals some information about vocal production efficiency and voice strength.

  • Airflow measurements are useful in gauging vocal support and glottic constriction.