The external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve (EBSLN) provides motor function to the cricothyroid muscle (CTM). EBSLN damage produces changes in voice quality and projection. Intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) in thyroid surgery aims to optimize EBSLN control during dissection. We prospectively collected the data of 88 consecutive patients who underwent total thyroidectomy with IONM from July 2019 to December 2019. IONM was offered in the intermittent mode of application. We routinely searched for the EBSLN electromyographic (EMG) signal before (S1) and after (S2) dissection of the superior vascular peduncle. In the absence of the EMG signal, we observed the CTM twitch. We identified 141 (80%) S1 EMG signals, while we recorded the CTM twitch in 15 cases (8.5%). In 20 (11.3%) cases, we were unable to identify the EMG signal. Analysing the S2 results, we found loss of EBSLN signal in 11/141 cases (7.8%) identified with IONM in pre-dissection stimulation. Among the 20 cases without pre-dissection identification (we had not identified the external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve or the muscle twitch), in the post-dissection evaluation, we confirmed the loss of signal in 17 of 20 cases, equal to 85% (p < 0.001). Our data clearly show that intraoperative stimulation and recognition of EBSLN, performed before any dissection manoeuvre to the superior vascular thyroid pole, leads to a much higher rate of nerve conservation.
Can we routinely identify the external branch of the superior laryngeal nerves with neural monitoring?: a prospective report on 176 consecutive nerves at risk / Del Rio, P.; Bonati, E.; Loderer, T.; Rossini, M.; Cozzani, F.. - In: UPDATES IN SURGERY. - ISSN 2038-131X. - (2021). [10.1007/s13304-021-01084-6]
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