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August 31, 1918


Author Affiliations

Surgeon, Robert Packer Hospital SAYRE, PA.

JAMA. 1918;71(9):715-721. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600350019007

The temporary loss of voice following thyroidectomy is a complication that gives the surgeon in his early thyroid work an untold amount of anxiety and worry. There are several distinct causes of this complication, which if appreciated by the operator will greatly lessen the liability of its occurrence; but in spite of this, the experienced surgeon will occasionally be greatly disturbed by one of his patients who loses her voice after operation, and who is husky or speechless for months following.

The causes of temporary loss of voice may be put under four headings: (1) trauma to the inferior recurrent laryngeal nerves; (2) trauma to the larynx and trachea; (3) syphilis, and (4) hysteria.

Trauma to the nerve should be prevented whenever possible—trauma that is caused by pinching with clamps; including the nerve by suture in tying off vessels or catching it in suturing; and stretching the nerve in its