Indications and Short-Term Outcomes for In-Office Therapeutic Superior Laryngeal Nerve Block

Alan J. Gray, Matthew R. Hoffman, Zao M. Yang, Beau Vandiver, Joshua Purvis, Jake P. Morgan, Edie R. Hapner, Laura Dominguez, Kathleen Tibbetts, C. Blake Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Superior laryngeal nerve (SLN) block consists of injection of steroid and anesthetic at the internal branch of the SLN entry site. Prior case series have demonstrated beneficial effects on neurogenic cough. SLN blocks have also recently shown benefit for paralaryngeal pain. We describe short-term outcomes for multiple symptoms of irritable larynx syndrome (ILS) including neurogenic cough, dysphonia related to laryngeal hypersensitivity, inducible laryngeal obstruction (ILO), paralaryngeal pain, and isolated globus. Methods: Retrospective review from 2 institutions of patients undergoing a single SLN block for the indications listed. Variables include age, sex, indication(s), known vagus neuropathy, and patient-reported outcomes at short-term follow-up. Results: A total of 209 patients were included (59 males, 150 females; age: 58 ± 13 years). Twenty-six patients (12%) had a history of a vagus nerve injury. Indications included neurogenic cough (n = 149), dysphonia related to laryngeal hypersensitivity (n = 66), paralaryngeal pain (n = 50), ILO (n = 23), and isolated globus (n = 3). Some patients had multiple indications. Significant improvements in patient-reported measures occurred after a single SLN block within 2 to 4 weeks for neurogenic cough (cough severity index; 25.2 ± 11.2 to 19.0 ± 12.8; P <.001), dysphonia (voice handicap index-10; 22.1 ± 12.2-18.0 ± 13.3; P =.005), and ILO (dyspnea index; 21.0 ± 14.9-14.7 ± 15.7; P =.017). Subjective pain improved in 23 of 39 patients with paralaryngeal pain. There was no observed improvement for isolated globus. Presence of known vagal neuropathy or therapy around the time of SLN block did not affect outcome. Conclusion: SLN block can be an effective component of treatment for a variety of ILS symptoms. Patients may experience some improvement after 1 injection. Lay Summary: Symptoms of irritable larynx syndrome, such as neurogenic cough, paralaryngeal pain, inducible laryngeal obstruction, and dysphonia related to laryngeal hypersensitivity can be challenging to manage. In-office Superior Laryngeal Nerve blocks can serve as a quick, well tolerated, adjunctive treatment with positive short-term outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-180
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • chronic cough
  • globus
  • inducible laryngeal obstruction
  • muscle tension dysphonia
  • neurogenic cough
  • paralaryngeal pain
  • superior laryngeal nerve block

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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