The thyroid gland, or simply the thyroid, in vertebrate anatomy, is one of the largest endocrine glands and consists of two connected lobes. The thyroid gland is found in the neck, below the thyroid cartilage. The thyroid gland controls how quickly the body uses energy, makes proteins, and controls how sensitive the body is to other hormones.
Vocal cord paralysis is one of the fearful iatrogenic complications of thyroidectomy. It can be resulted from transient insult to the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) due to traction, stimulation, perineural bleeding or permanent damage due to section of the nerve intraoperatively. The transient injury is more common to occur, with the figure doubled to the permanent palsies. Visual misidentifications such as anatomical variations of the RLN for example in cases with extra-laryngeal branches, intertwining branches of the RLN with the inferior thyroid artery, distorted course of RLN and in non-recurrent laryngeal nerve has made the risk to be increased. With the advancement of nerve identification techniques for example using intraoperative neuromonitoring, the rate can be expected to be further reduced.
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Last date updated on June, 2014