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Botox successfully used to treat voice disorder for first time in Croatia 


RIJEKA, 12 December 2019 – For the first time in Croatia, Botulinum toxin (Botox) was successfully applied in the treatment of spasmodic dysphonia in two patients. 

Spasmodic dysphonia, also known as laryngeal dystonia, is a disorder in which the muscles that generate a person’s voice go into periods of spasm. This results in breaks or interruptions in the voice, often every few sentences, which can make a person difficult to understand. 

The disorder affects more women and is more common in people between the ages of 30 and 50. The exact cause of spasmodic dysphonia is unknown.

Diagnosis and treatment are multidisciplinary. Treatment can only reduce the symptoms. This is why botulinum toxin is used in small doses to help ease muscle spasms. Botulinum toxin is mainly incorporated to enhance the mass of the vocal cords so that healthy vocal cords touch the disorder and thus restore the patient’s voice.

The procedure, which was carried out for the first time in Croatia on two patients from Slavonski Brod and Rijeka, was carried out at the Clinical Hospital Center Rijeka (KBC Rijeka) thanks to the cooperation of the Institute of Audiology and Phoniatrics and the Clinic of Neurology of KBC Rijeka, the hospital said. 

Staff at KBC Rijeka talking about the procedure at a press conference (Photo: KBC Rijeka)

Until now, patients have been referred to the University Center in Ljubljana, where Rijeka experts are also trained. 

The process of applying botox to vocal cords was performed under the control of EMNG and was carried out by the Head of the Department of Audiology and Phoniatrics, Tatjana Sepic, Dr. Dijana Marzic and head nurse Astrid Rodin, and Head of the Clinic for Neurology Dr. Vladimir Vuletic, Dr. Barbara Zadkovic, and head nurse Sanja Milinkovic.

(Photo: KBC Rijeka)

“We work with neurologists because extrapyramidal disorders also incorporate botox to help relax the vocal cords and facilitate speech for patients. The procedure is performed under local ultrasound-controlled anesthesia,” said Dr. Tatjana Sepic. 

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