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Thyroid. 2012 Aug;22(8):814-9. doi: 10.1089/thy.2011.0118. Epub 2012 Jul 10.

Prevalence of upper aerodigestive symptoms in patients who underwent thyroidectomy with and without the use of intraoperative laryngeal nerve monitoring.

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Department of Voice, Speech, and Swallowing Rehabilitation, A.C. Camargo Hospital, Sao Paulo, Brazil.



Upper aerodigestive symptoms (UADS) have been reported by patients who have had thyroidectomies. This study evaluated the long-term prevalence of UADS after thyroidectomy in patients who did and who did not have intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM).


This was a cross-sectional study of patients with normal vocal fold mobility who had a thyroidectomy. It included patients who did and did not have this surgery with IONM. All patients answered a questionnaire regarding UADS occurring one or more years after thyroidectomy. The questionnaire dealt with UADS relating to voice and swallowing symptoms and sought to quantify their severity. The 208 patients who underwent thyroidectomy without IONM were designated the control group (CG). The 100 patients who underwent thyroidectomy with IONM were designated the neuromonitored group (NMG).


The proportion of patients in the CG who reported UADS was 45%; 25.9% of these patients reported voice symptoms, and 33.6% reported swallowing symptoms. The proportion of patients in the NMG who reported UADS was 39%; 27% of these patients reported voice symptoms, and 22% reported swallowing symptoms. Thus, patients in the CG had more swallowing symptoms and a greater severity of UADS-related symptoms than patients in the NMG.


In this study, IONM had a favorable effect in terms of decreasing the prevalence and severity of UADS occurring one year or more after thyroidectomy.

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