How is recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury due to thyroid surgery managed?

Updated: Feb 27, 2020
  • Author: Pramod K Sharma, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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In unilateral vocal cord paralysis, corrective procedures may be delayed for at least 6 months to allow time for improvement in a reversible injury, unless the nerve was definitely transected during surgery; surgical treatment options are medialization (most common) and reinnervation

In bilateral vocal cord paralysis, emergency tracheotomy may be required, but if possible, first perform endotracheal intubation; cordotomy and arytenoidectomy, the most commonly performed surgical procedures, enlarge the airway and may permit decannulation of a tracheostomy

The patient must be counseled that his or her voice will likely worsen after surgery

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