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11 February 2014 : Original article  

Preoperative diagnosis and intraoperative protection of nonrecurrent laryngeal nerve: A review of 5 cases

Zhihong WangABCDEF, Hao ZhangADEFG, Ping ZhangBF, Liang HeBF, Wenwu DongBF

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.889942

Med Sci Monit 2014; 20:233-237

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Nonrecurrent laryngeal nerve (NRLN) is a risk factor for nerve injury during thyroidectomy or parathyroidectomy. It is usually associated with abnormal vasculature that can be identified by several imaging methods. The aim of this study was to retrospectively analyze the preoperative diagnosis and intraoperative protection of NRLN.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Of the 7169 patients who underwent thyroid surgery at our hospital between August 2008 and January 2013, 5 patients with NRLN were identified. Preoperative chest X-rays, neck ultrasonography (US), and computed tomography (CT) findings were reviewed. NRLNs were carefully and systematically searched for in surgery.

RESULTS: Preoperative CT predicted NRLN in all 5 cases (100% accuracy). The detection rate of NRLN by CT was 0.4% (5/1170). NRLNs were confirmed in surgery. All of them were right-sided NRLN with type IIA variant. The CT scans clearly revealed the vascular anomalies. The review of US images suggested that vascular anomalies could be identified on the images in 1 patient. No postoperative complications occurred in any patient.

CONCLUSIONS: The preoperative CT scan was a reliable and effective method for identifying abnormal vasculature to indirectly predict NRLN. Combining the CT and US findings with adequate surgical technique may help to reduce the risk of nerve damage, in addition to preventing nerve palsy.

Keywords: Diagnostic Techniques, Neurological, Laryngeal Nerve Injuries - radiography, Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve - ultrasonography, Thyroidectomy - methods, Tomography, X-Ray Computed

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750