Bilateral vocal fold paralysis and dysphagia secondary to diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis

Jordan J. Allensworth, Karla D. O'Dell, Joshua S. Schindler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) is an idiopathic spinal disease common in the elderly and characterized by flowing ossification and osteophyte formation along the spinal column. Cervical hyperostosis is capable of producing dysphagia, stridor, and airway obstruction; however, there are no extant reports of true paralysis of bilateral vocal folds in patients fulfilling the criteria for DISH. Methods and Results: We report a case of a 61-year-old man presenting with dysphagia and dyspnea. Flexible laryngoscopy revealed bilateral true vocal fold paralysis. Cervical radiograph showed flowing ossification of the anterior longitudinal ligament with preservation of intervertebral disc height. Tracheotomy and cervical osteophytectomy were performed, after which the patient showed improved swallowing and speaking ability and was decannulated without complication. Conclusion: In the case presented, cervical osteophytectomy dramatically reversed bilateral vocal fold paralysis and dysphagia secondary to hyperostosis, thus negating the need for prolonged tracheostomy and feeding tube dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1-E3
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Forestier disease
  • dysphagia
  • hyperostosis
  • osteophytectomy
  • vocal fold paralysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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