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Injury to one or both recurrent laryngeal nerves during operation on the thyroid gland occurs frequently and usually results in paralysis of the vocal cord. When a patient who has sustained such an injury is examined in consultation, questions arise as to whether or not the voice will return to normal, when improvement should begin to become evident and what will be the future status of the laryngeal mechanism.
In an effort to answer some of these questions, histories of 504 patients who underwent partial thyroidectomy at the Johns Hopkins Hospital during the past five years were reviewed. In most, but not all, of the cases the larynx was examined by an otolaryngologist both before and after operation. In 32 patients the recurrent laryngeal nerves were injured at operation—a minimal incidence of 6.3 per cent. The histories of several other patients whose larynxes had not been examined, recorded a persistent
MULLIGAN EJ. PROGNOSIS OF LARYNGEAL PARALYSIS FOLLOWING THYROIDECTOMY. Arch Otolaryngol. 1942;35(5):732–734. doi:10.1001/archotol.1942.00670010739003
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