Anatomical Variations in Recurrent Laryngeal Nerves in Thyroid Surgery.

Research paper by Chuanchang C Yin, Bin B Song, Xiaoyan X Wang

Indexed on: 05 Jun '20Published on: 05 Jun '20Published in: Ear, nose, & throat journal


To study terminal bifurcation of recurrent laryngeal nerves (RLNs) with original direction to larynx entry and to decrease the risk of vocal cord paralysis in thyroid patients. The RLNs of 294 patients (482 sides) were dissected according to the branches into the larynx, and the original direction of each RLN trunk in thyroid surgery was recorded. (1) About 30.9% of the RLNs gave off multiple branches into the larynx. (2) Two and 3 branches of RLNs into the larynx were found in 25.5% and 5.4% of the cases, respectively. (3) In 0.4% or 2 cases, the RLN trunk combined with the inferior branch of the vagus nerve. (4) Nonrecurrent laryngeal nerve appeared in 2 cases. (5) On the left side, 68.0%, 25.6%, and 6.4% of cases were found with 1, 2, and 3 bifurcations of RLN to larynx entry, respectively. On the right side, 69.8%, 25.8%, and 4.4% cases were identified with 1, 2, and 3 bifurcations of RLN to larynx entry, respectively. (6) The combining dissection approach was proved as successful and safe for protecting the RLN with no permanent RLN paresis. Because of the anatomical variation in RLNs with extralaryngeal bifurcation, it is necessary to increase the awareness of surgeons about these variations so as to protect bifurcated nerves in thyroid surgery.