Unmapped landmarks around branches of the Superior Laryngeal Nerve: An exploratory cadaveric study

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Objectives: Preserving the External Branch of Superior Laryngeal Nerve (EBSLN) and Internal Branch of Superior Laryngeal Nerve (IBSLN) is essential during thyroidectomy. However, due to potential distortions caused by large goitres, the present anatomical landmarks used to identify these nerves are flawed. Although under such circumstances, bony landmarks may offer more stable reference points, not much has been explored in this regard. This study measures the distance between the most vulnerable points of the EBSLN and IBSLN and their relatively unexplored bony landmarks, such as the hyoid bone and thyroid notch as well as soft-tissue landmarks like the origin of the Superior Thyroid Artery (STA) and carotid bifurcation. Methods: An exploratory cadaveric study was conducted in a medical school affiliated with a tertiary care hospital. The detailed analysis included 13 sides from 8 cadavers. Results: The average distance from the EBSLN piercing site to the greater cornua of the hyoid bone, thyroid cartilage prominence, origin of the STA, and carotid bifurcation was 35.1(±7.2) mm, 33.3(±3.8) mm, 25.7(±6.3) mm, and 31.5(±5.0) mm, respectively and from the IBSLN piercing site was 15.9(±5.9) mm, 32.9(±4.7) mm, 16.3(±4.2) mm, and 20.7(±5.9) mm, respectively. For most cadavers, the distal EBSLN had Cernea type 2a-like relationship with the STA. Certain variations were also observed in the way these nerves branched with respect to the origin of the STA. Conclusions: This study provides metric information (linear measurements) regarding the distance between the branches of SLN and certain unique landmarks. This could potentially aid in minimising intraoperative trauma to these branches.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Taibah University Medical Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 01-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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