Am J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg | Volume 4, Issue 6 | Research Article | Open Access

Is Recovery of Preoperative Unilateral Vocal Cord Palsy Possible after Primary Bilateral Thyroidectomy?

Bassam Abboud*, Roy Hallak and Christopher Abboud

Division of General Surgery, Geitaoui Hospital, Lebanese University, Lebanon

*Correspondance to: Bassam Abboud 

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Background: This study evaluated recovery of unilateral vocal cord paralysis after primary bilateral thyroidectomy for benign and malignant pathologies.

Methods: Medical records of all consecutive patients who underwent primary bilateral thyroidectomy were reviewed retrospectively. Of these patients, those who had a symptomatic vocal cord paralysis preoperatively were selected. Multiple variables were collected: age, gender, clinical presentation, type of imaging, surgical procedures, and results of perioperative pathologic examinations to showed possible association with preoperative vocal fold paralysis.

Results: 18 patients were included in this study. The population was equally divided between males and females. All had undergone an ultrasound, while 28% and 23% had undergone a CT scan and MRI respectively. Laryngoscopy performed in all the patient has shown a right sided and a left one vocal cord paralysis in 61% and 39% of the cases respectively. In one patient, the recurrent laryngeal nerve was sacrificed to reach an R0 resection. The final pathology showed benign and malignant pathologies in 17% and 83% of cases respectively. The overall recovery rate of vocal fold function was 6%. Recovery of a normal function of the vocal cords was seen in 33% and 0% with benign and malignant pathologies respectively.

Conclusion: In thyroid disease, vocal cord paralysis is more common in malignant as compared to benign pathologies. Laryngoscopy and imaging studies are important when planning surgery. Recovery of the normal function is possible, especially in benign pathologies, and underlines the importance of preserving the affected nerve.


Thyroid; Benign; Malignant; Vocal cord; Palsy


Abboud B, Hallak R, Abboud C. Is Recovery of Preoperative Unilateral Vocal Cord Palsy Possible after Primary Bilateral Thyroidectomy?. Am J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021;4(6): 1145..

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