Partial Epiglottoplasty for Pharyngeal Dysphagia due to Cervical Spine Pathology

Nausheen Jamal, Andrew Erman, Dinesh K. Chhetri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To examine the role of epiglottoplasty in patients with pharyngeal dysphagia due to pharyngeal crowding from cervical spine pathology and to assess swallowing outcomes following epiglottoplasty. Study Design Retrospective case series. Setting Academic tertiary care medical center. Subjects and Methods Dysphagia can occur in patients with cervical spine pathology because of hypopharyngeal crowding. Swallowing studies, such as modified barium swallow study and fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing, may demonstrate a nonretroflexing epiglottis owing to cervical spine osteophytes or hardware, thus impeding pharyngeal bolus transit. We performed partial epiglottoplasties in a series of these patients. A retrospective review of swallowing outcomes was performed to assess the efficacy of this surgery in this patient population. Results Epiglottic dysfunction causing dysphagia due to cervical spine pathology was diagnosed by modified barium swallow study and/or fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing in 12 patients. Findings included hypopharyngeal crowding because of cervical osteophytes (n = 8) or cervical hardware (n = 4) associated with absent epiglottic retroflexion and retained vallecular residue. Partial epiglottoplasty resulted in significant reduction of vallecular residue and a significant increase in functional swallow outcomes without an increase in swallow morbidity. Conclusion There is a role for partial epiglottoplasty in patients with dysphagia attributed to hypopharyngeal crowding from cervical spine pathology. Surgery enables reduced vallecular residue and improved functional swallowing outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-592
Number of pages7
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Forestiers disease
  • cervical osteophyte
  • diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis
  • dysphagia
  • epiglottic dysfunction
  • epiglottidectomy
  • epiglottoplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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