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Case Report

Open Access

Late manifestation of bilateral laryngeal nerve palsy after thyroidectomy


1,Department of Surgery University of Greifswald Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Straße

2,Department of Anesthesiology University of Greifswald Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Straße

DOI: 10.22514/SV82.102013.9 Vol.8,Issue 2,October 2013 pp.56-57

Published: 17 October 2013

*Corresponding Author(s): TOBIAS SCHULZE E-mail:


Respiratory distress is a feared complication after thyroid surgery. Differential diagnosis includes bilateral recurrent laryn-geal nerve palsy (BRLNP), local hematoma, vocal cord edema and laryngeal trauma. BRLNP results from intraoperative irritation without physical injury (neurapraxia), or intraoperative partial or complete transsection (axonotmesis and neuro-tmesis, respectively) of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN). RLN palsy typically manifests immediately in the postoperative course. However, in rare cases there is a delayed, progressive development of BRLNP, potentially leading to respiratory failure in emergency setting weeks after initial surgery. Herein we report on a patient developing massive respiratory distress secondary to BRLNP 5 weeks after thyroidectomy for massive goiter. With the current tendency to decrease the length of hospital stay after thyroid surgery, late onset palsy of the RLN should be included into the differential diagnosis for acute respiratory distress in patients with recent history of thyroid surgery. 


bilateral recurrent laryn-geal nerve palsy, respiratory distre-ss, thyroidectomy, goiter, postope-rative complication

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TOBIAS SCHULZE,STEPHAN KNIGGE,CLAUS-DIETER HEIDECKE,STEFAN MAIER. Late manifestation of bilateral laryngeal nerve palsy after thyroidectomy. Signa Vitae. 2013. 8(2);56-57.


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