Research on vocal cord paralysis focuses on exploring the causes of the disorder and improving treatment options. A number of studies seek to refine diagnostic processes utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Doctors constantly improve a surgical procedure known as medialization laryngoplasty, in which a structural implant is placed into the larynx. A new pre-operative, 3-D computer modeling program promises to reduce the need for follow-up surgery needed by about 25 percent of patients to reposition the implant. The program determines the optimum shape and position of the implant. A new image-guided system assures a more precise placement of the implant.
Among the most promising clinical trials for vocal cord paralysis is testing of electrical stimulation to avoid the need for a tracheotomy when both vocal cords are paralyzed. A type of implanted pacemaker stimulates the laryngeal nerves allowing the vocal folds to open and close normally for breathing, speaking and swallowing.
Research and clinical trials for vocal cord paralysis are supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).