Intraoperative neuromonitoring in thyroid surgery: a point prevalence survey on utilization, management, and documentation in Italy

Gianlorenzo Dionigi, Davide Lombardi, Celestino Pio Lombardi, Paolo Carcoforo, Marco Boniardi, Nadia Innaro, Maria Grazia Chiofalo, Ottavio Cavicchi, Antonio Biondi, Francesco Basile, Angelo Zaccaroni, Alberto Mangano, Andrea Leotta, Matteo Lavazza, Pietro Giorgio Calò, Angelo Nicolosi, Paolo Castelnuovo, Piero Nicolai, Luciano Pezzullo, Giorgio De TomaRocco Bellantone, Rosario Sacco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The frequency of neuromonitoring during thyroid surgery is underreported in Italy. The present survey depicts and describes the patterns of use, management, documentation for IONM devices of IONM during thyroid surgery by surgeons in Italy. A point prevalence survey was undertaken. Source data were mixed from Italian surgeons attending the 2014 International Neuromonitoring Study Group (INMSG) meeting, four IONM manufacturers available in Italy and surgical units were identified from Company sales data. Qualitative and quantitative data were used to analyze. Questions probed IONM prevalence, surgeon background, hospital geographic practice locations, type of hospital, rationale for IONM use, sources of initial capital investment for IONM acquisition, type of equipment, use of continuous IONM, monitoring management, use of distinctive standards, and IONM documentation. IONM is currently delivered through 48 units in Italy. In 2013, the distribution of IONM by specialties included: general (50 %), ENT (46 %), and thoracic surgery (4 %). Overall, 12.853 IONM procedures were performed in the period from 2006 to 2013: 253 were performed in 2007 and about 5,100 in 2013. Distribution according to the type of hospital is: public 48 %, academic setting 37 %, and private maintenance 15 %. The use category of high volume thyroid hospitals represented 33 %. Initial capital investment for the acquisition of the monitoring equipment was 67 % public and 33 % with charitable/private funding. Audio plus graphic and EMG electrodes surface endotracheal tube-based monitoring systems accounted for the majority. Continuous IONM was introduced in 5 Academic Centers. Overall motivations expressed are legal (30 %), RLN confirmation (20 %), RLN identification (20 %), prognosis (10 %), helpful in difficult cases (10 %), decrease surgical time (5 %), and educational (5 %). The survey revealed that participants had few experience with the standardized approach of IONM technique (28 %). General IONM information to patients and/or subsequent specific IONM informed consent was initiated in 8 % of centers. EMG determinations were included in medical chart in 20 %. There were no significant associations found between all parameters considered. The present study describes an increased utilization of IONM in Italy. We highlighted areas for improvement in the management and documentation of IONM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-276
Number of pages8
JournalUpdates in Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 6 2014


  • External branch of the superior laryngeal nerve
  • Legal
  • Malpractice
  • Morbidity
  • Neuromonitoring
  • Recurrent laryngeal nerve
  • Research
  • Stage thyroidectomy
  • Thyroidectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)


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