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To quantitatively test the hypothesis that older patients have increased thyroarytenoid muscle atrophy by comparing thyroarytenoid muscle volumes across different age groups.
A retrospective chart review was conducted. The study included 111 patients with no history of laryngeal pathology. Two investigators reviewed magnetic resonance imaging studies of these patients and manually traced the thyroarytenoid muscles on multiple slices bilaterally. Thyroarytenoid muscle volumes were then computed using imaging analysis software. Patients were stratified into three age groups (18–50 years, 51–64 years, and 65 years or older) for comparison.
Intra- and inter-rater reliabilities were excellent for all measurements (intraclass correlation co-efficient > 0.90). There was no statistically significant difference in the mean volumes of left and right thyroarytenoid muscles in all age and gender groups.
Given the lack of statistically significant difference in thyroarytenoid muscle volume between age groups on magnetic resonance imaging, the prevailing assumption that age-related thyroarytenoid muscle atrophy contributes to presbyphonia should be re-examined.
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