Incidence of vocal cord paralysis with and without recurrent laryngeal nerve monitoring during thyroidectomy

Maisie Shindo, Neil N. Chheda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To compare the incidence of postoperative vocal cord paresis or paralysis in a cohort of patients who underwent thyroidectomy with and without continuous recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) monitoring by a single senior surgeon. We hypothesize that continuous RLN monitoring reduces the rate of nerve injury during thyroidectomy Design: Retrospective medical chart review. Setting: Academic tertiary care medical center. Patients: Atotal of 684 patients (1043 nerves at risk) who underwent thyroid surgery under general anesthesia. Main Outcome Measure: Incidence of vocal cord paresis or paralysis in patients who underwent thyroid surgery with continuous RLN monitoring vs those undergoing surgery without continuous RLN monitoring. Results: The incidence of unexpected unilateral vocal cord paresis based on RLNs at risk was 2.09% (n=14) in the monitored group and 2.96% (n=11) in the unmonitored group. This difference was not statistically significant. The incidence of unexpected complete unilateral vocal cord paralysis was 1.6% in each group. Two of the 5 paralyses in the unmonitored group and 7 of the 11 paralyses in the monitored group had complete resolution. Conclusions: Monitoring of the RLN does not appear to reduce the incidence of postoperative temporary or permanent complete vocal cord paralysis. There appeared to be a slightly lower rate of postoperative paresis with RLN monitoring, but this difference was not statistically significant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-485
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Volume133
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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