This paper reports a case of a non-recurrent laryngeal nerve which was accurately predicted pre-operatively using computed tomography.
A 61-year-old man presented with papillary thyroid carcinoma with lymph node metastasis. Computed tomography scans of the neck and chest revealed an ill-defined, hypoattenuating nodule in the right lobe of the thyroid gland, with few upper paratracheal and prevascular nodes, and clear lung fields. The retro-oesophageal course of the right subclavian artery, which was arising from the distal portion of the arch of aorta, was also incidentally revealed in the computed tomography scan. A barium swallow further confirmed the presence of a retro-oesophageal subclavian artery. Total thyroidectomy was performed, with right neck dissection and central compartment clearance. This was carried out with the presence of a non-recurrent laryngeal nerve in mind, and the nerve was accurately localised and preserved.
To our knowledge this is the first report in the world literature of accurate pre-operative incidental imaging of the right non-recurrent laryngeal nerve in a case of metastatic thyroid cancer, and the subsequent use of computed tomography to guide surgical navigation.