Voice Rest Versus Exercise: A Review of the Literature

Keiko Ishikawa, Susan Thibeault

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Voice rest is commonly prescribed after vocal fold surgery to promote wound healing of the vocal fold. Currently, there is no standard protocol that is established based on biological evidence. In orthopedic rehabilitation, long-term rest is found to be less effective for connective tissue healing than exercise. Connective tissue healing is also an important factor for successful voice rehabilitation; however, whether this concept can be extrapolated to voice rehabilitation is unknown. The purpose of this article is to review current clinical and basic science literature to examine the effect of voice rest in postsurgical rehabilitation. First, we present a summary of clinical literature that pertains to voice rest. Second, we present description of connective tissues that are involved in orthopedic and voice rehabilitation, specifically, ligament and lamina propria, respectively, and their wound healing process. Third, a summary of the literature from orthopedic research on the effect of rest versus exercise is presented. Lastly, it summarizes in vitro and in vivo studies that examined the effect of mechanical stress on vocal fold tissue. Current literature suggests that there is a lack of clinical evidence that supports a specific type and duration of voice rest, and extrapolation of the findings from orthopedic research may be unreasonable due to the morphological and biochemical difference between the tissues. To determine the effect of voice rest, further elucidation of vocal fold wound healing process and the effect of mechanical stress on vocal fold tissue remodeling are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-387
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by funding from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders R01 DC 004336.


  • Connective tissue
  • Fibroblast
  • Larynx
  • Voice rest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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