Nerve Injury During Ultrasound-Guided Thyroid Biopsy-A First Reported Complication of Permanent Vocal Fold Paralysis

Ear Nose Throat J. 2021 Sep;100(5_suppl):663S-666S. doi: 10.1177/0145561320902855. Epub 2020 Feb 10.


Needle biopsy is a well-established component in the evaluation of thyroid nodules. The biopsy is usually performed with an ultrasound guidance and consists of either fine-needle aspiration or core needle biopsy. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, their difference is important. To our knowledge, we discuss the first reported case of biopsy-proven laryngeal nerve injury and permanent vocal fold paralysis following ultrasound-guided core biopsy of the thyroid. We advocate this complication be discussed as part of the consent process.

Keywords: core needle biopsy; fine-needle biopsy; laryngeal nerve injury; thyroid biopsy; thyroid nodule; vocal fold paralysis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy, Large-Core Needle / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Nerve Injuries / etiology*
  • Male
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology*
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / etiology*
  • Vocal Cords / injuries*
  • Vocal Cords / innervation