Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

The American surgeon


BACKGROUND: Recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury and postoperative hypocalcemia are potential complications of thyroidectomy, particularly in malignancy. Intraoperative nerve monitoring (IONM) remains controversial. We sought to evaluate the impact of IONM on these complications using a national data set.

METHODS: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program thyroidectomy-targeted data set was queried for patients who underwent thyroidectomies from 2016 to 2017. Patients were grouped according to IONM use. Logistic regression models were constructed to evaluate associations of variables with 30-day hypocalcemic events (HCEs) and RLN injury. Associations were expressed as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). A subgroup analysis was performed of patients with malignancy.

RESULTS: A total of 9527 patients were identified; 5969 (62.7%) underwent thyroidectomy with IONM and 3558 (37.3%) without. By multivariable analysis, IONM had protective associations with HCE (OR = .81, 95% CI = .68-.96; P = .013) and RLN injury (OR = .83, 95% CI = .69-.98; P = .033). Malignancy increased risk of HCE (OR = 1.21, 95% CI=1.01-1.45; P = .038) and RLN injury (OR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.02-1.46; P = .034). A large proportion (5943/9527, 62.4%) of patients had malignancy; 3646 (61.3%) underwent thyroidectomy with IONM and 2297 (38.7%) without. In the subgroup analysis, IONM had stronger protective associations with HCE (OR = .73, 95% CI = .60-.90; P = .003) and RLN injury (OR = .76, 95% CI = .62-.94; P = .012).

DISCUSSION: Malignancy was associated with increased risk of HCE and RLN injury. Intraoperative nerve monitoring had a protective association with HCE and RLN injury, both overall, and in the malignant subgroup. Intraoperative nerve monitoring was correlated with improved thyroidectomy outcomes, especially if the indication was malignancy. This warrants further study to clarify cause and effect.

PubMed ID



ePub ahead of print



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.