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Authors Lee CY, Long KL, Eldridge RJ, Davenport DL, Sloan DA
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Journal Surgery Volume: 156 Issue: 6 Pages: 1477-82; discussion 1482-3
Publish Date 2014 Dec
PubMed ID 25456935

Although routine preoperative laryngoscopy has been standard practice for many thyroid surgeons, there is recent literature that supports selective laryngoscopy. We hypothesize that patients’ preoperative voice complaints do not correlate well with abnormalities seen on preoperative laryngoscopy.A retrospective chart review of a 3-year, single-surgeon experience was performed. Records of patients undergoing thyroid surgery were reviewed for patient voice complaints, prior neck surgery, surgeon-documented voice quality, and results of laryngoscopy.Of 464 patients, 6% had abnormal laryngoscopy findings, including 11 cord paralyses (2%). Preoperatively, 39% of patients had voice complaints, but only 10% had a corresponding abnormality on laryngoscopy. Only 4% of patients had a surgeon-documented voice abnormality with 72% corresponding abnormalities on laryngoscopy, including 8 cord paralyses. When eliminating patient voice complaints and using only history of prior neck surgery and surgeon-documented voice abnormality as criteria for preoperative laryngoscopy, only 1 cord paralysis is missed and sensitivity (91%) and specificity (86%) were high. Also, when compared with routine laryngoscopy, 84% fewer laryngoscopies are performed.When using patients’ voice complaints as criteria for preoperative laryngoscopy, the yield is low. We recommend using surgeon-documented voice abnormalities and history of prior neck surgery as criteria for preoperative laryngoscopy. Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System