OBJECTIVES: Radical surgery with systematic upper mediastinal node dissection for primary lung cancer can cause recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) paralysis, but this is poorly reported. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the clinical data for consecutive patients who underwent radical surgery for primary lung cancer with an observation period of at least 12 months. During follow-up, hoarseness and vocal fold movement were assessed clinically and laryngoscopically, respectively. RESULTS: Of the 365 patients included in this study, 22 (6.0%) experienced hoarseness as a complication. All 22 patients who experienced hoarseness had undergone upper mediastinal node dissection. Although 1 of the 22 patients refused to undergo laryngoscopy, we assessed the vocal fold movement in the remaining patients (95.5%). Among these, 5 patients (23.8%) had right RLN paralysis, and 15 (71.4%) had left RLN paralysis and showed no sign of RLN paralysis. Over 1-24 months, vocal cord movement improved in 61.1% (11/18); and over 1-28 months, hoarseness improved in 72.7% (16/22). All patients with right RLN paralysis improved without further treatment. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that extensive follow-up is necessary to discern whether hoarseness is a temporary or permanent complication of radical surgery in patients with primary lung cancer who have undergone systematic lymph node dissection.
- Primary lung cancer
- Recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis
- Systematic lymph node dissection
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine