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Experimental study of needle recording electrodes placed on the thyroid cartilage for neuromonitoring during thyroid surgery.

Published: 1st October 2018

Authors: Y. Zhao, C. Li, D. Zhang, L. Zhou, X. Liu, S. Li et al.

Background

Needle electrodes placed on the thyroid cartilage (TC) are an alternative to endotracheal tube (ET) electrodes for assessing recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) function during thyroid surgery. Needle electrodes placed on the TC were evaluated in an experimental porcine model.

Method

Continuous intraoperative neuromonitoring was used to record the electromyogram. Each TC side was delineated into nine areas to determine the optimal placement of the electrode, and needle electrode area, depth and orientation for optimal electromyographic (EMG) amplitudes were evaluated. RLN root locations were stimulated at four locations: vagus nerve distal to the neuromonitoring electrode, and most proximal, middle and laryngeal entry points of the nerve. A nerve retraction injury model was adapted to compare RLN monitoring by TC versus ET electrodes.

Results

An optimal site for placement of needle electrodes was identified, and electromyograms obtained from the various needle insertion depths and orientations were similar. Latencies recorded from the TC and ET electrodes were similar. The amplitude profile of TC electrodes responded earlier to RLN injury than that of ET electrodes. Amplitude and drop to loss of signal were also registered earlier.

Conclusion

EMG amplitudes obtained using TC electrodes were higher, and identified RLN injury earlier than ET electrodes.

Surgical relevance

Needle electrodes placed on the thyroid cartilage (TC) are an alternative to endotracheal tube (ET) electrodes for assessing the function of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) in thyroid surgery.

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