Is There Any Reliable Predictor of Functional Recovery Following Vocal Fold Paralysis?

Luca Revelli, Pierpaolo Gallucci, Maria Raffaella Marchese, Sofia Di Lorenzo, Claudio Montuori, Lucia D'Alatri, Francesco Pennestri', Carmela De Crea, Marco Raffaelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background Predicting definitive outcomes of post-thyroidectomy vocal fold paralysis (VFP) is challenging. We aimed to identify reliable predictors based on intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) and flexible fiberoptic laryngostroboscopy (FFL) findings. Methods Among 1172 thyroid operations performed from April to December 2021, all patients who exhibited vocal fold paralysis (VFP) at post-operative laryngoscopy were included. IONM data, including type of loss of signal (LOS), were collected. Patients underwent FFL, with arytenoid motility assessment, at 15, 45 and 120 days post-operatively. Patients were divided into two groups: those who recovered vocal fold motility (VFM) by the 120th post-operative day (recovery group) and those who did not (non-recovery group). Results Fifty-nine VFP cases (5.0% of total patients) met the inclusion criteria. Eight patients were lost at follow-up and were excluded. Overall, 9 patients were included in the non-recovery group (0.8% of total patients) and 42 in the recovery group. Among various predictive factors, only arytenoid fixation (AF) at the 15th post-operative day and Type I LOS were significant predictors for no VFM recovery (p = 0.007, RR = 9.739, CI:1.3-72.3 and p = 0.001, RR = 9.25, CI:2.2-39.3 for AF and Type I injury, respectively). The combination of type of LOS and arytenoid motility at the 15th post-op day yielded satisfactory predictive values for the progression of transient VFP to permanent. Conclusions Arytenoid motility at the 15th post-op day and type II LOS are associated with recovery of VFM. Type of LOS and FFL could be included in the follow-up protocols of patients with VFP to reliably predict clinical outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-436
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Post-thyroidectomy


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