Full Content is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >

Development of Electromagnetic Stimulation System to Aid Patients Suffering From Vocal Fold Paralysis

[+] Author Affiliations
William Garret Burks, Paola Jaramillo, Alexander Leonessa

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

Paper No. SBC2013-14562, pp. V01BT59A007; 2 pages
  • ASME 2013 Summer Bioengineering Conference
  • Volume 1B: Extremity; Fluid Mechanics; Gait; Growth, Remodeling, and Repair; Heart Valves; Injury Biomechanics; Mechanotransduction and Sub-Cellular Biophysics; MultiScale Biotransport; Muscle, Tendon and Ligament; Musculoskeletal Devices; Multiscale Mechanics; Thermal Medicine; Ocular Biomechanics; Pediatric Hemodynamics; Pericellular Phenomena; Tissue Mechanics; Biotransport Design and Devices; Spine; Stent Device Hemodynamics; Vascular Solid Mechanics; Student Paper and Design Competitions
  • Sunriver, Oregon, USA, June 26–29, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Bioengineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5561-4
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Vocal fold paralysis affects approximately 7.5 million Americans. Paralysis can be caused by numerous conditions, including head, neck or surgical trauma, endotracheal intubation, neurological conditions, cancer, tumors, just to mention a few. Currently, vocal fold paralysis treatment involves surgery and voice therapy. The vocal folds are composed of a three part material stretched along the larynx, which enables frequency change. Intrinsic laryngeal muscles coordinate the motion of vocal folds during respiration, vocalization, and aid in airway protection. Sensory information is carried by the Superior Laryngeal Nerve (SLN) and the Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve (RLN). Injury to the RLN results in paralysis of all laryngeal muscles excluding the cricothyroid muscle [1]. Although optimal larynx reinnervation has been extensively researched and implemented to improve voice paralysis [2], voice electrotherapy offers an alternative to effectively stimulate the larynx muscles for voice production, breathing and airway protection. One of the main causes of voice disorders is neurological in nature and causes abnormal vocal fold vibration. Of particular importance to this research is paralysis due to RLN injury, which causes acute temporary paralysis [3]. Currently, invasive electrical stimulus is used to activate muscle function; however, abnormal activation of muscle patterns causes muscles to function out of synchronization resulting in low vocal output [4]. For this reason, our work focuses on the development of an effective electromagnetic stimulation system to aid patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis by stimulating the RLN and in turn reinnervating the adequate laryngeal muscles involved in the vocal fold motion for the purposes of sound vocalization, respiration, and airway protection. So far, a proof of principle has been developed and evaluated to assess the system’s feasibility. The preliminary experiments have been conducted using BioMetal Fibers (BMF) (Toki Corporation, Japan), which are fiber-like solid state actuators designed to contract and extend similar to muscles. BMF contracts when stimulated through a current generated in this case through an electromagnetic field.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Topics: Vocal cords



Interactive Graphics


Country-Specific Mortality and Growth Failure in Infancy and Yound Children and Association With Material Stature

Use interactive graphics and maps to view and sort country-specific infant and early dhildhood mortality and growth failure data and their association with maternal

Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In