World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 32, Issue 9, pp 1935–1939 | Cite as

Optimal Depth of NIM EMG Endotracheal Tube for Intraoperative Neuromonitoring of the Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve During Thyroidectomy

  • I-Chen Lu
  • Koung-Shing Chu
  • Cheng-Jing Tsai
  • Che-Wei Wu
  • Wen-Rei Kuo
  • Hsiu-Ya Chen
  • Ka-Wo Lee
  • Feng-Yu ChiangEmail author



Malpositioning of the endotracheal surface electrodes can result in dysfunction of intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) and increase the risk of recurrent laryngeal nerve injury. The purpose of this study was to investigate the optimal depth of the nerve integrity monitor (NIM) EMG endotracheal tube.


We enrolled 105 adult patients undergoing elective thyroidectomy. Each Medtronic Xomed NIM EMG endotracheal tube was placed with the middle of the exposed electrodes well in contact with the true vocal cords under direct laryngoscopy. Function of IONM was documented and the insertion depth was measured and analyzed.


Ninety-nine (94.3%) patients had successful IONM with the initial endotracheal tube position. Six (5.7%) patients needed further tube depth adjustment under fiberoptic bronchoscopy. All patients were finally had successful IONM. The optimal mean depth was 20.6 ± 0.97 cm in men and 19.6 ± 1.0 cm in women (p < 0.01). There was the trend that taller subjects had a deeper tube depth (p < 0.05).


We concluded that the mean depth of the NIM EMG tube would be a useful reference value for detecting the malposition of electrodes and adjusting the depth of tube during the operation.


Endotracheal Tube Vocal Cord Vagus Nerve Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Palsy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • I-Chen Lu
    • 1
  • Koung-Shing Chu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cheng-Jing Tsai
    • 1
  • Che-Wei Wu
    • 3
  • Wen-Rei Kuo
    • 3
    • 4
  • Hsiu-Ya Chen
    • 1
  • Ka-Wo Lee
    • 3
    • 4
  • Feng-Yu Chiang
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyKaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho HospitalKaohsiungTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Anesthesiology, Faculty of MedicineCollege of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck SurgeryKaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho HospitalKaohsiungTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Faculty of MedicineCollege of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan

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