To demonstrate that sensory nerve transposition may be used to reestablish sensation of the laryngopharynx after central nervous system injury and vagal deficit.
Prospective preliminary report of 2 patients following brain-stem stroke with aspiration pneumonia confirmed on chest radiography, severe dysphagia and inability to tolerate oral alimentation, and modified barium swallow that demonstrated cricopharyngeal spasm and impaired laryngeal elevation. Both patients also had severe, bilateral laryngopharyngeal sensory deficits as determined by delivery of air pulse stimuli to the mucosa innervated by the superior laryngeal nerve via a fiberoptic telescope. Each patient underwent surgery as part of management of dysphagia after failure of aggressive nonsurgical treatment.
During a cricopharyngeal myotomy and laryngeal suspension, a unilateral microneurorrhaphy between the greater auricular nerve and the superior laryngeal nerve was performed.
Ability to tolerate oral diet without development of aspiration pneumonia and postoperative laryngopharyngeal sensory capacity.
By 12 months after surgery, both patients had ipsilateral restoration of laryngopharyngeal sensation, with no further episodes of aspiration pneumonia.
In select cases of severe dysphagia after central nervous system injury, sensory nerve transposition may be a useful adjunct to the surgical rehabilitation of the patient with dysphagia.Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123:154-160
Aviv JE, Mohr JP, Blitzer A, Thomson JE, Close LG. Restoration of Laryngopharyngeal Sensation by Neural Anastomosis. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123(2):154-160. doi:10.1001/archotol.1997.01900020034005