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Unusual paratracheal masses presenting with vocal fold paralysis

| Reprints
February 1, 2006
by Evan R. Reiter, MD; Michael O. Idowu, MD; Celeste N. Powers, MD, PhD
Most paratracheal masses are of thyroid origin. We describe two cases of vocal fold paralysis that were caused by unusual paratracheal masses. In one case, a 35-year-old man was found to have a malignant lymphoma that originated in the mediastinum and extended above the clavicle. The other patient was a 53-year-old man with an enlarged left thyroid lobe, tumor invasion of the adjacent larynx and trachea, and multiple pulmonary nodules all due to adenoid cystic carcinoma. Unusual paratracheal masses presenting with vocal fold paralysis may mimic thyroid malignancies, thereby posing both diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. Fine-needle aspiration cytology is often helpful in making a definitive diagnosis, but incisional biopsy is necessary in some cases.

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