Automated Indentation Mapping of Vocal Fold Structure and Cover Properties Across Species

Gregory R. Dion, Jean Francois Lavoie, Paulo Coelho, Milan R. Amin, Ryan C. Branski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives/Hypothesis: Various animal models have been employed to investigate vocal fold (VF) and phonatory function. However, biomechanical testing techniques to characterize vocal fold structural properties vary and have not compared critical properties across species. We adapted a nondestructive, automated indentation mapping technique to simultaneously quantify VF structural properties (VF cover layer and intact VF) in commonly used species based on the hypothesis that VF biomechanical properties are largely preserved across species. Study Design: Ex vivo animal model. Methods: Canine, leporine, and swine larynges (n = 4 each) were sagittally bisected, measured, and subjected to normal indentation mapping (indentation at 0.3 mm; 1.2 mm/s) with a 2-mm spherical indenter to quantify normal force along the VF cover layer, structural stiffness, and displacement at 0.8 mN; two-dimensional maps of the free VF edge through the conus elasticus were created for these characterizations. Results: Structural stiffness was 7.79 gf/mm (0.15–74.55) for leporine, 2.48 gf/mm (0.20–41.75) for canine, and 1.45 gf (0.56–4.56) for swine. For each species, the lowest values were along the free VF edge (mean ± standard deviation; leporine: 0.40 ± 0.21 gf/mm, canine: 1.14 ± 0.49 gf/mm, swine: 0.89 ± 0.28 gf/mm). Similar results were obtained for the cover layer normal force at 0.3 mm. On the free VF edge, mean (standard deviation) displacement at 0.08 gf was 0.14 mm (0.05) in leporine, 0.11 mm (0.03) in canine, and 0.10 mm (0.02) in swine. Conclusions: Automated indentation mapping yielded reproducible biomechanical property measurement of the VF cover and intact VF. Divergent VF structural properties across canine, swine, and leporine species were observed. Level of Evidence: NA Laryngoscope, 129:E26–E31, 2019.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E26-E31
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Larynx
  • indentation
  • mechanical testing
  • structural stiffness
  • vocal fold
  • voice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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