Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 384, Issue 4, pp 392–395

Intraoperative electromyogram monitoring of the recurrent laryngeal nerve: experience with an intralaryngeal surface electrode

A method to reduce the risk of recurrent laryngeal nerve injury during thyroid surgery
  • D. Horn
  • V. M. Rötzscher

DOI: 10.1007/s004230050219

Cite this article as:
Horn, D. & Rötzscher, V. Langenbeck's Arch Surg (1999) 384: 392. doi:10.1007/s004230050219


Introduction: A clinical method to localize the recurrent laryngeal nerve intraoperatively in order to minimize the risk of accidental injury is presented. Methods and results: By means of an electrode, the nerve was stimulated by a pulsed contact current. The resulting muscle potential was detected using an electrode placed in the larynx. We applied this technique during the time period between 1 January 1997 and 31 December 1998. In 96 cases of primary thyroid resection, the recurrent nerve was identified 167 times. The patients were operated on for nodular thyroid (n=85), Grave’s disease (n=9) and malignant papillary goiter (n=2). Retrospectively, the rate of intraoperative nerve injury, equivalent to the rate of postoperative transient and permanent nerve palsy, was 1.04% in the 96 patients and 0.60% with respect to the 167 nerves at risk. The rate of failure of the method was 7.29%.

Key words Lesion of the recurrent laryngeal nerve EMG monitoring Intralaryngeal electrode 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Horn
    • 1
  • V. M. Rötzscher
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinic of General, Traumatic, Abdominal and Pediatric Surgery, Elisabeth Krankenhaus Essen, Moltkestrasse 61, D-45010 Essen, Germany, Tel.: +49-201-8973313, Fax: +49-201-8972249DE

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