The Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve and the Tubercle of Zuckerkandl

  • Steven R. Bomeli
  • Beata WojtczakEmail author
  • Hisham Abdullah
  • Romain E. Kania
  • David J. Terris


The tubercle of Zuckerkandl is the posterior and lateral projection of the thyroid gland. It was originally described by anatomists, and later became of interest to thyroid and parathyroid surgeons because of its close proximity to the recurrent laryngeal nerve and the superior parathyroid gland. It is more frequently found on the right side of the body, and when found bilaterally it is often larger on the right. It has been postulated that an enlarged tubercle of Zuckerkandl can cause symptoms of compression even in the absence of a large goiter, but it is clinically significant because of its use as a landmark for finding the recurrent laryngeal nerve and the superior parathyroid gland during surgery.


Zuckerkandl Tubercle Recurrent laryngeal nerve Superior parathyroid gland 

Supplementary material

Video 9.1

Shows a surgeon’s view of the tubercle of Zuckerkandl being elevated to expose the recurrent laryngeal nerve and superior parathyroid gland (MP4 46088 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven R. Bomeli
    • 1
  • Beata Wojtczak
    • 2
    Email author
  • Hisham Abdullah
    • 3
  • Romain E. Kania
    • 4
  • David J. Terris
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck SurgeryGeorgia Regents UniversityAugustaUSA
  2. 2.First Department and Clinic of General, Gastroenterological and Endocrine SurgeryWroclaw Medical UniversityWroclawPoland
  3. 3.Ministry of HealthPutrajayaMalaysia
  4. 4.Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head & Neck SurgeryLariboisière University Hospital, Paris Diderot University, University Paris Sorbonne CitéParisFrance
  5. 5.Department of OtolaryngologyGeorgia Health Sciences University, GRU Thyroid CenterAugustaUSA

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