Superior laryngeal nerve monitoring using laryngeal surface electrodes and intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring during thyroidectomy

Benjamin L. Hodnett, Nicole C. Schmitt, Daniel R. Clayburgh, Alex Burkowsky, Jeffrey Balzer, Parthasarathy D. Thirumala, Umamaheswar Duvvuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


The objective of this study is to establish normative waveform data for the external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve (SLN) utilizing laryngeal surface electrodes and intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) in conjunction with a clinical neurophysiologist. A retrospective chart review of 91 consecutive at-risk SLN were identified in 51 patients in whom IONM using laryngeal surface electrodes was performed by a clinical neurophysiologist using Dragonfly (Neurovision Medical Products, Ventura, CA) recording electrodes and a Protektor (Natus Medical Inc., San Carlos, CA)16 channel- intraoperative nerve monitoring system. Inclusion criteria were met for 30 SLN. Data collected included preoperative diagnosis, surgical procedure, rates of nerve identification and stimulation, and waveform characteristics. Waveform analysis for 30 SLN yielded a peak latency of 4.0 ± 0.2 ms, onset latency 2.3 ± 0.1 ms, peak-to-peak amplitude of 220.4 ± 31.1 μV, onset-to-peak amplitude of 186.0 ± 25.0 μV, and stimulation current threshold of 0.55 ± 0.03 mA (data = mean ± SEM). Two patients had abnormal SLN function documented clinically on postoperative laryngoscopic examination. Laryngeal surface electrodes were successfully utilized to identify and monitor SLN function intraoperatively. IONM using laryngeal surface electrodes enables analysis of waveform morphology and latency in addition to threshold and amplitude data obtained with the traditional NIM system, potentially improving the performance of nerve monitoring during thyroid surgery. Clin. Anat. 28:460-466, 2015.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)460-466
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2015



  • external branch of superior laryngeal nerve
  • nerve monitoring and stimulation
  • thyroid surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology

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