Recurrent laryngeal nerve monitoring during thyroid surgery in childhood.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION Diseases of the thyroid gland are one of the most common endocrinopathies in childhood. Neither benign nor malignant thyroid diseases are often treated surgically. But if surgical treatment is carried out, intraoperative damage of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) is a common and severe complication. In adult surgery, therefore, intraoperative monitoring (IOM) of the RLN is a method which has been used since several years. The question is whether this method can be used in paediatric surgery for the identification and functional control of the integrity of the RLN. METHODS Surgical treatment of benign (9 x) or malignant (1 x) thyroid diseases was performed in ten children (median age: 13 years) with 16 nerves at risk (NAR). The function of the vocal cord was controlled in all children before and after surgery. Intraoperative identification and functional control of the recurrent nerve was performed using the Neurosign 100, placing a needle electrode transligamentously into the vocal muscle. All results before and after resection were documented. RESULTS A clear and reliable identification of the RLN was possible in all cases. All NAR showed a constant physiological nerve signal before and after surgical resection of the thyroid gland. However in one young patient the postoperative control of the vocal cord revealed a partial paralysis despite the constant intraoperative signal of the RLN. The control on this patient after a period of six months showed a normal function. CONCLUSION IOM of the RLN as used in adult surgery could easily be used in paediatric surgery as well. A clear and positive identification of the RLN was possible in all these patients. Therefore, IOM of the RLN could develop into a helpful and easy method for the prevention of intraoperative damage of the recurrent laryngeal nerve during thyroid surgery in childhood.

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@article{Meyer2006RecurrentLN, title={Recurrent laryngeal nerve monitoring during thyroid surgery in childhood.}, author={Tim Meyer and Burkhard H{\"{o}cht}, journal={European journal of pediatric surgery : official journal of Austrian Association of Pediatric Surgery ... [et al] = Zeitschrift für Kinderchirurgie}, year={2006}, volume={16 3}, pages={149-54} }