Treatment of recurrent laryngeal neuropathy by prosthetic laryngoplasty

The Equine Surgery Service is pleased to offer our clientele a novel surgical approach for the treatment of recurrent laryngeal neuropathy: prosthetic laryngoplasty.Recurrent laryngeal neuropathy (laryngeal hemiplegia) is a disease affecting the horse’s upper airways. This disease usually affects larger horses. In the larynx, a nerve dysfunction leads to muscle wasting and the inability of the larynx to function properly. The condition usually affects the left side. The inadequately open larynx causes a whistling or roaring sound as the horse tries to breathe. Exercise intolerance may also be caused by an obstructed larynx.

Diagnosis is achieved by endoscopic examination of the upper airways at rest or during exercise (a small camera is inserted through the horse’s nose).


tie-back laser
Once a diagnosis has been made, several treatment options are available depending on the severity of the condition and the performance level of the horse. Prosthetic laryngoplasty, also known as the tie-back procedure, was first described in the 70s. This procedure consisted of placing a suture on the left side of the larynx (thereby replacing one of the affected muscles) in order to increase the laryngeal opening enabling air to pass through the larynx normally. Up until recently, this procedure was only performed on horses under general anesthesia. The technique has now been adapted so as to allow the procedure to be performed on a standing sedated horse. Also, during the procedure, a laser surgery is performed in the throat (ventriculocordectomy) in order to maximize the horse’s athletic potential.


Besides being less expensive for the client, a standing procedure also allows us to eliminate risks associated with equine general anesthesia. The entire day is dedicated to the procedure. Local and systemic antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs are given for several days following surgery.

This procedure is now available at the Equine Surgery Service; we strive to offer our clientele the best, cutting-edge services.