[Nerve exploration and decompression for traumatic recurrent laryngeal nerve injuries induced by thyroid gland surgery].Zhonghua Er Bi Yan Hou Ke Za Zhi. 2004 Aug; 39(8):464-8.ZE
To show the findings of recurrent laryngeal nerve injury exploration and find out therapeutic effects, indications and timing of nerve decompression for traumatic recurrent laryngeal nerve injury induced by thyroid gland surgery.
In this study there were 87 patients with recurrent laryngeal nerve injury, including 65 for nerve exploration and 22 for nonsurgical treatment. During nerve exploration, the types, severity of laryngeal nerve injuries and laryngeal muscular mass were studied. Nerve decompression was performed in these 14 patients whose compressing sutures or compression due to cicatricial hypertrophy were received nerve decompression.
Injuries caused by thyroid gland operations mostly are of suture ligation (43%) and nerve severance (48%); simple scar compression was found only in 6 cases (9%). Atrophy of the laryngeal muscles was not very serious in patients with a course less than 6 months. In 10 patients with a course less than three months, nerve decompression restored normal functional abductor and abductor motion of the vocal cord in 9 patients and had no effects in one. Although functional motion of vocal cord was not seen in one case with a course less than 3 months and 4 cases between 3 and 5 months, the mass and tension of the reinnervated vocal cord became much the same as the contralateral normal vocal cord, thus resuming symmetric vibration of the vocal cords and physiological phonation. Although nonsurgical treatment improved severe hoarseness, it didn't restore normal functional motion of the vocal cord and normal voice.
Nerve exploration showed a primary rule for recurrent laryngeal nerve injury induced by thyroid gland surgery. Early and mid-stage recurrent laryngeal nerve exploration and decompression may restore normal motion of the glottis, and it suggested laryngeal delayed reinnervation may help patients with a course more than 6 months.