Design: The relationship of the recurrent laryngeal nerve to the superior parathyroid gland during consecutive thyroidectomies was prospectively evaluated. When one structure was noted, careful dissection was performed to locate the other structure, to preserve their natural anatomical relationship. Patients: In total, 103 consecutive thyroid lobectomies were performed on 73 patients. The distance from the superior parathyroid gland to the recurrent laryngeal nerve was recorded. Results: In 88 cases (88.9 per cent), the superior parathyroid gland was identified within 5 mm of the recurrent laryngeal nerve. In 62 cases (62.6 per cent), the gland was within 1 mm of the recurrent laryngeal nerve. The height of the thyroid lobe was positively associated with the distance between the two structures (p = 0.001), as was the incidence of cancer (p = 0.033). The incidence of recurrent laryngeal nerve paresis was less than 4 per cent. Conclusion: In most cases, the recurrent laryngeal nerve was found in close proximity to the superior parathyroid gland. In a thyroid gland with a large height, or in a cancerous lobe, this relationship is less reliable.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Parathyroid Gland
- Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve