Analysis of the Outcomes of Immediate Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Reconstruction During Thyroid Surgery for Prevention of Vocal Fold Paralysis

Sang Ho Kwon, Hyeon dong Yeo, Jae Ho Chung, Seung Kuk Baek, Kwang-Yoon Jung, Eul Sik Yoon, Seung Ha Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury and the resulting paralysis is the most common and known complication of thyroid surgery. Several surgical techniques, such as medialization thyroplasty with or without arytenoid adduction and injection laryngoplasty, have been developed to treat RLN injury, but these procedures have specific limitations and complications. In this study, we present the outcomes for our patients who underwent immediate RLN reconstruction during thyroid surgery by analyzing both subjective and objective outcomes. Methods: A retrospective study was conducted for patients who underwent total or subtotal thyroidectomy between May 2012 and March 2020. Among them, patients who underwent immediate RLN reconstruction due to unilateral RLN injury were followed for at least 12 months. The voice perceptual evaluation, acoustic analysis, voice range profile, and Voice Handicap Index (VHI) scores were obtained preoperatively, 1 month, 6 months, and 12 months after surgery. Results: Among the 11 patients, 6 patients (54.5%) underwent direct anastomosis, and 5 patients (45.5%) underwent nerve grafts using ansa cervicalis and great auricular nerve. The grade and breathiness in the GRBAS (grade, roughness, breathiness, asthenia, and strain) scale and jitter item showed significant improvement at 12 months postoperatively, and although not statistically significant, the rest of the items also tended to improve. The total, functional, and physical scores on VHI improved significantly at 12 months postoperatively. Moreover, when comparing the voice analysis of the direct anastomosis group and the nerve graft group, there was no significant difference between the groups in objective and subjective results. Conclusion: Immediate RLN reconstruction demonstrated significant voice improvement postoperatively, and reconstructing the nerve immediately and combining follow-up treatment in the event of RLN injury will greatly help patients improve their long-term voice outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Voice
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Voice Foundation

Keywords

  • Immediate nerve reconstruction
  • Recurrent laryngeal nerve
  • Thyroidectomy
  • Voice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN

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