Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Paralysis Following Thyroidectomy: Analysis of Factors Affecting Nerve Recovery

Ramla Mohammad, Gene Huh, Wonjae Cha, Woo Jin Jeong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Paralysis of the recurrent laryngeal nerves (RLNs), albeit decreased over the years, leaves the surgeon helpless as there is not much that can be done once it occurs. Nimodipine has been suggested as a remedy that could accelerate the recovery of the nerve. Our study aimed to examine the factors that affect the recovery rate (RR) and time to recovery (TTR) of post-thyroidectomy RLN paralysis, with an emphasis on the use of nimodipine. Methods: A total of 197 patients who had undergone thyroid and parathyroid surgeries were retrospectively reviewed from October 2016 to August 2019. Patients who had RLN paralysis following surgery were assessed. The medical records were retrospectively analyzed to look for possible factors that may influence RLN recovery. Results: A total of 289 nerves were at risk. Temporary RLN paralysis rate was 7.9% while 1.7% was permanent. Age (odds ratio [OR] = 4.8) and intra-operative extra-thyroid extension (OR = 9.0) were independent risk factors for RLN paralysis. The rate of recovery was 82.1%. Loss of signal (LOS; P =.066) was a factor trending for an impact on RR but not nimodipine (P >.05). The mean TTR was 32 days. LOS, nimodipine, and steroid use, among others, were factors trending for an impact on the TTR. Conclusion: Although not reaching statistical significance, nimodipine and steroids might influence TTR but not the RR. Larger studies are warranted to address the effect of nimodipine on the outcome of RLN paralysis. Level of Evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 132:1692–1696, 2022.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1692-1696
Number of pages5
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Nimodipine
  • recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis
  • risk factors
  • thyroidectomy
  • time to recovery


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