LMA Morbidity: A Case of Unilateral Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Palsy

  • Ryan Suda
  • Seth Herway


Supraglottic airway devices, such as the laryngeal mask airway (LMA), are commonly used as part of the anesthetic management for various procedures. Initially used primarily in the operating room setting, the LMA is now considered a vital accessory device when confronting a difficult or emergent airway. LMAs are generally a safe and easily utilized airway device, but there are infrequent complications arising from their use. Sore throats, oropharyngolaryngeal injuries, and nerve palsies can occur from LMA use. Nerve palsies are some of the more serious complications from LMA use and usually manifest within 48 h. Contributing factors may include an inappropriate size or misplacement of the device, patient position, overinflation of the device cuff, and poor technique. Injuries other than to the recurrent laryngeal nerve are usually mild and self-limiting. In this chapter, we discuss a case of unilateral recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy following the intraoperative use of a Cookgas LMA. The discussion focuses on risk factors for LMA morbidity, airway anatomy and innervation, and diagnosis of recurrent laryngeal nerve injury.


Laryngeal mask airway (LMA) Nerve palsy Neuropraxia Recurrent laryngeal nerve Superior laryngeal nerve Trigeminal nerve Facial nerve Glossopharyngeal nerve LMA morbidity Airway innervation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan Suda
    • 1
  • Seth Herway
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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