The right recurrent laryngeal nerve does show greater stimulation during the surgery, said Karen Bellapianta, MD, who presented the findings at the 130th Annual Meeting of the American Laryngological Association, conducted as part of the Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meeting. It may be at increased risk, but it will take future study in order to prove this.
Cervical spine surgery is important to laryngologists because of the risk of injury. Monitoring electrical signals might give an early indication of a problem during the surgery, possibly helping to prevent injuries.
We, as otolaryngologists, care about anterior cervical spine surgery because the most common complication is temporary or permanent recurrent largyngeal nerve paralysis, or paresis, recorded in the literature, anywhere from 1 to 24 percent, Dr. Bellapianta said.