Laryngeal electromyography (EMG) has been used primarily as a research tool with only limited application to clinical practice. We have performed laryngeal EMG in a clinical research setting for over 2 years and have found it a valuable adjunct in selected situations. The electrophysiology and technique of laryngeal EMG are reviewed. Laryngeal EMG is the most accurate method of determining compromise of the superior laryngeal nerve. It is valuable in evaluating patients with mechanical fixation of the vocal cords. The eventual outcome of recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis may also be predicted in certain patients. Laryngeal EMG is safe, easy to perform, and should be considered when evaluating the patient with laryngeal dysfunction.
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