Voice and swallowing changes after thyroidectomy in patients without inferior laryngeal nerve injuries

Celestino Pio Lombardi, Marco Raffaelli, Lucia D'Alatri, Gaetano Paludetti, Rocco Domenico Alfonso Bellantone, Maria Raffaella Marchese, Mario Rigante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

135 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: We performed a prospective analysis on voice and swallowing alterations following total thyroidectomy (TT), in the absence of recurrent nerve injury. METHODS: Patients aged 21 to 65 years undergoing TT, in the absence of laryngeal/pulmonary disease, previous neck surgery, or malignant diseases, were subjected to videostrobolaryngoscopy (VSL), acoustic voice analysis (AVA), and maximum phonation time (MPT) tests preoperatively and 3 months postoperatively. Voice impairment scores (VIS) and swallowing impairment scores (SIS) were obtained preoperatively, and at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months postoperatively. RESULTS: Among the 127 selected patients, 39 completed the postoperative evaluation. No recurrent nerve injury was observed during the postoperative VSL in any of the patients. Preoperative and postoperative AVA and MPT scores did not differ significantly. The mean postoperative VIS was significantly higher than the preoperative VIS at 1 week and 1 month after TT (13.7 and 9.6 vs 4.4, respectively; P < .05) but not 3 months after TT (6.7). The mean SIS was higher than the preoperative SIS at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months after TT (10.3, 6.0, and 2.8 vs 0.5, respectively; P < .05). CONCLUSIONS: Physicians should inform patients that transient voice and swallowing symptoms may occur following total thyroidectomy, and our data suggest mild symptoms may occur in the majority of operated patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1026-1032
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Complications
  • Voice changes
  • swallowing disorders
  • thyroidectomy


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