Functional assessment of the ex vivo vocal folds through biomechanical testing: A review

Gregory R. Dion, Seema Jeswani, Scott Roof, Mark Fritz, Paulo G. Coelho, Michael Sobieraj, Milan R. Amin, Ryan C. Branski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The human vocal folds are complex structures made up of distinct layers that vary in cellular and extracellular composition. The mechanical properties of vocal fold tissue are fundamental to the study of both the acoustics and biomechanics of voice production. To date, quantitative methods have been applied to characterize the vocal fold tissue in both normal and pathologic conditions. This review describes, summarizes, and discusses the most commonly employed methods for vocal fold biomechanical testing. Force-elongation, torsional parallel plate rheometry, simple-shear parallel plate rheometry, linear skin rheometry, and indentation are the most frequently employed biomechanical tests for vocal fold tissues and each provide material properties data that can be used to compare native tissue to diseased or treated tissue. Force-elongation testing is clinically useful, as it allows for functional unit testing, while rheometry provides physiologically relevant shear data, and nanoindentation permits micrometer scale testing across different areas of the vocal fold as well as whole organ testing. Thoughtful selection of the testing technique during experimental design to evaluate a hypothesis is critical to optimize biomechanical testing of vocal fold tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-453
Number of pages10
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for the work described in this manuscript was provided, in part, by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders ( RO1 DC013277 ; Principal Investigator—Branski).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Biomechanics
  • Elastic modulus
  • Mechanical stress
  • Nanoindentation
  • Phonation
  • Shear strength
  • Vocal folds
  • Voice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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