Improving the functionality of intra-operative nerve monitoring during thyroid surgery: is lidocaine an option?

J Clin Med Res. 2015 Apr;7(4):282-5. doi: 10.14740/jocmr2025w. Epub 2015 Feb 9.


Intra-operative nerve monitoring (IONM) is rapidly becoming a standard of care in many institutions across the country. In the absence of neuromuscular blocking agents to facilitate the IONM, the depth of anesthesia required to abolish the laryngo tracheal reflexes often results in profound hemodynamic instability during surgery, necessitating the use of large doses of sympathomimetic amines. The excessive alpha and beta adrenergic effects exhibited by these agents are undesirable in the presence of cardiovascular co-morbidities. Trying to strike a balance frequently results in an unsatisfactory intra-operative course. In the course of the near total thyroidectomy performed on a 60-year-old female, we employed lidocaine infusion at 1.5 mg/kg/hour following a bolus dose of 1 mg/kg. The troublesome laryngo tracheal reflexes were successfully blunted and we were able to moderate the depth of anesthesia resulting in stable hemodynamics. A bispectral index monitor was employed to guard against "recall" and a train of four monitor was used to ensure the absence of inadvertent neuromuscular blockade. During the surgery, there was loss of signal on the left recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN). The signal strength was restored by rotating the endotracheal tube on its long axis to realign the electrode with the vocal cords under Glidescope(®) visualization.

Keywords: IV lidocaine infusion; Intra-operative nerve monitoring; Parathyroid surgery; Recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis; Thyroid surgery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports