Assessment of Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve During Thyroid Surgery With Laryngeal Mask Airway

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Abstract

Objective

To study the feasibility of using laryngeal mask anesthesia (LMA) with bronchoscopic evaluation of recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) integrity when stimulated.

Design

Single-institution prospective case series.

Setting

A single, mid-Atlantic region academic medical center.

Patients

Twenty-seven adult volunteers.

Interventions

Laryngeal mask anesthesia for thyroid surgery, monitored by flexible laryngoscopy and nerve integrity testing.

Main Outcome Measures

Success rates for LMA use in thyroid surgery, bronchoscopic visualization of laryngeal glottis, and documentation of RLN integrity following surgery.

Results

We report our experience on 27 consecutive cases in which LMA with RLN stimulation was used for thyroid surgery. Twenty-five of 27 patients underwent successful LMA and visual documentation of RLN integrity by bronchoscopic inspection of nerve stimulation.

Conclusions

Direct visualization of vocal cords using a fiberoptic bronchoscope via an LMA provides a safe and feasible method of laryngeal assessment following thyroid dissection. Continuous real-time video monitoring may be the next step in development of this technique as a patient safety measure for thyroid and parathyroid surgery.

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