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Chang MH, Khoo JB, Tan HK
Correspondence: Dr Tan Hiang Khoon, Tan.H.K@ncss.com.sg
First reported by Nager in 1927, unilateral vocal cord paralysis associated with thyroid disease suggests the malignant and irreversible nature of the thyroid lesion. This condition is rarely seen in benign thyroid diseases, and the function of the vocal cord does not usually return. We present a 54-year-old woman with a history of right hemithyroidectomy for benign thyroid nodule, who had an episode of subacute thyroiditis associated with unilateral vocal cord paralysis. The patient was treated with intravenous antibiotics and underwent a completion thyroidectomy. Post operation, her vocal cord function recovered successfully. Unilateral vocal cord paralysis can be seen in thyroiditis, and this can be reversed with steroids and antibiotics. If surgery is necessary, care must be taken to preserve the recurrent laryngeal nerve.
Keywords: reversible vocal cord paralysis, thyroiditis
Singapore Med J 2012; 53(5): e101–e103