Extruded Screw From Cervical Spine Hardware Causing Vocal Fold Paralysis.

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Dysphonia and dysphagia are often observed among patients presenting to the otolaryngology clinic. One of the more common etiologies includes iatrogenic injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) as a known complication of head and neck surgeries such as thyroidectomy or anterior approaches to the cervical spine. Most often, RLN injury occurs in this context due to traction or transection of the nerve. No reports on delayed presentation of RLN injury from the extrusion of cervical spine hardware (screw) could be found in the peer-reviewed literature. We present a case of a 63-year-old woman who presented to the otolaryngology office with a 3-month history of hoarseness and difficulty swallowing. The patient's past medical history was significant for a motor vehicle accident (MVA) 6 years prior resulting in right arm radiculopathy and subsequent anterior cervical discectomy with spinal decompression and fusion (ACDF) at C5-C6 and C6-C7 approximately 3 months after the MVA. Strobovideolaryngoscopy revealed right vocal fold immobility. Computed tomography scan revealed that a screw from the right side of the ACDF hardware migrated approximately 2 cm with compression of the RLN. The patient underwent neck exploration with removal of the extruded hardware and microdirect laryngoscopy with right vocal fold injection laryngoplasty. Intraoperatively, the extruded screw was found embedded within the RLN fibers. This case represents the first report to our knowledge of extrusion of cervical spine hardware screw resulting in delayed RLN injury and vocal fold paralysis.

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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery

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