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 Superior or Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve  

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Which neve is injured during thyroid surgery? Superior or recurrent Laryngeal?
What are the efx. of injury to both of these nerves?


recurent laryngeal nerve injured in ligation of INFERIOR thyroid artery during thyroidectomy.---cause HOARSE NESS .... if bilateral damage of nerve-it leads to breathlessness.

DAmage to superior thyroid nerve can be from sup. thyroid ar ligation during surgery BUT this aretery is too far away from thyroid gland. so.. its ligation can be done where it enters to thyroid.


Superior Laryngeal is ABOVE the vocal folds
Recurrent Laryngeal is BELOW the vocal folds

Superior Laryngeal has two branches
1. External -innervates cricothyroid and inf. constrictor of pharynx.
2. Internal -sensory innervation ABOVE vocal folds

Recurrent Laryngeal innervates ALL muscles of Larynx EXCEPT cricothyroid.
The left and right have a different path!
-Left Recurrent Laryngeal loops around the arch of AORTA -its found in Sup. Mediastinum and neck.
-Right Recurrent Laryngeal loops around right SUBCLAVIAN A. so its found only in the neck.

Lesions of Superior Laryngeal Nerve are mostly asymptomatic, because its fibers are mainly sensory. If the motor fibers to the cricothyroid are affected in the external branch, there may be some mild hoarseness and a slight decrease in vocal strength.

Both recurrent laryngeal nerves are susceptible to injury in surgical procedures involving the thyroid. Lesions result in a fixed vocal cord and transient hoarseness.
*Left recurrent is injured more frequently than right.


Thanks drvirgo,valuable info and perfectly organized.

May the force be with u.


Terrific Dr.Virgo


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