Histologic and rheologic characterization of vocal fold scarring

Susan L. Thibeault, Steven D. Gray, Diane M. Bless, Roger W. Chan, Charles N. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


Scarring of the vocal fold causes considerable dysphonia and presents significant treatment challenges. A rabbit model was developed to investigate the histologic ultrastructure and rheologic properties of the scarred vocal fold lamina propria. Eleven rabbit larynges were scarred by means of forcep biopsy. Sixty days postoperatively, the rabbits were sacrificed and their vocal folds were harvested. Histological analysis of the scarred and normal lamina propria was completed for collagen, procollagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. Linear viscoelastic shear properties of the tissues were also measured, including elastic shear modulus and dynamic viscosity. Compared to normal vocal fold lamina propria, scarred tissues demonstrated significantly less collagen, an increase in procollagen, and a decrease in elastin. Rheologically, both elastic shear modulus and dynamic viscosity were significantly higher for the scarred tissues. Increased stiffness and viscosity do not appear to result from an increase in collagen, but rather appear to be related to the presence of new, disorganized collagen scaffolding. Results are interpreted in terms of the possible role of interstitial proteins in the etiology of increased stiffness and viscosity, which requires further investigation. This animal model should allow for systematic future investigations of vocal fold scarring and its treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-104
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Collagen
  • Dynamic viscosity
  • Elastin
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Larynx
  • Procollagen
  • Rabbit model
  • Scar
  • Shear modulus
  • Vocal folds
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


Dive into the research topics of 'Histologic and rheologic characterization of vocal fold scarring'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this