Monday, August 10, 2009


After a thyroidectomy for thyroid cancer, a patient develops hoarseness. Her voice is breathy and weak. She does not have any difficulty breathing.

Challenge: Explain.


Alex said...

recurrent larygneal nv damage

Toby said...

The recurrent branch of the laryngeal nerve was nicked in the thyroidectomy, affecting the movement of the vocal cords. Breathing is unaffected because the other side has a working recurrent laryngeal nerve.

Stephanie said...

damange to recurrent laryngeal nerve

Craig Chen said...

haha yes, first year anatomy

This is likely iatrogenic nerve injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve (or the vagus) which innervates all intrinsic muscles except the cricothyroid (external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve).

Source: UpToDate.