A study examining the mechanism of injury of vocal cords from voice use (known as "phonotrauma") has received the American Laryngological Association's prestigious Casselberry Award at the Association's 142nd Annual Meeting. Phonotrauma preferentially affects heavy voice users, like performers, schoolteachers and salespeople, but may also affect more routine voice users, resulting in lesions like polyps and nodules. The study examined recurrences after surgery, finding important differences in timing between lesion types. Researchers were able to use this information to test various theories regarding vocal injury against real-world data using mathematical models. "For a problem that affects so many patients, surprisingly little is known about phonotrauma," commented senior author and Director of Weill Cornell Medicine's Sean Parker Institute for the Voice Lucian Sulica, MD. "This is the first time we have a solid mechanistic basis to understand the difference between vocal cord lesions caused by phonotrauma."
The Casselberry Award is given for distinguished papers in laryngology, and has only been awarded 27 times in its 105-year history.