Design and Optimization of an Injectable Biomaterial for Vocal Fold Augmentation.
Abstract: The vocal
cords, located in the larynx, are used to create sound. When tissues in the vocal fold
are damaged, the associated muscles become atrophied, or other problems arise in the
larynx, and it often becomes difficult or impossible to speak. There are many forms
vocal fold damage can take, such as nerve damage, muscle atrophy, or superficial
scarring from cancer removal, and many... read moretreatment options are available, however there is
no ideal solution for loss of voice as treatments administered differ depending on the
underlying pathology. One of the most commonly used treatments, known as vocal fold
augmentation injection, involves injecting a supportive material behind the vocal cords
to push them toward the center of the larynx, decreasing the size of the gap between the
cords in order to create sound, and making it easier to talk. While this treatment is
preferred over more invasive options like laryngeal framework surgery, an augmentation
material does not currently exist that meets all of the needs of this application: a
long lasting, safe material that matches the viscoelasticity of the vocal fold, is easy
to inject, is available off-the-shelf and augments the vocal fold sufficiently. A
silk-based biomaterial solution is proposed in this thesis research, and various silk
formats investigated for use in vocal fold augmentation injections. Materials are
evaluated and down-selected based on rheological properties, degradation time, and in
vivo safety, as well as ease of delivery and preparation that must be performed by
surgeon administering the treatment.
Thesis (M.S.)--Tufts University, 2013.
Submitted to the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
Advisor: Gary Leisk.
Committee: Luisa Chiesa, and Thomas Carroll.
Keywords: Mechanical engineering, and Biomedical engineering.read less