Recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) reinnervation is a surgical option that helps manage hoarseness due to a one-sided vocal cord paralysis or immobility.
The left and right recurrent laryngeal nerves are responsible for vocal cord movement on their respective sides. In this 2- to 3-hour procedure, a small incision is made in the neck and the damaged RLN is attached to another nerve called the Ansa Cervicalis nerve.
After the procedure, your child typically remains in the hospital overnight for observation. This procedure allows the nerve that is functioning to send signals to the damaged nerve. Over time, the injured recurrent laryngeal nerve will begin to heal and to regain its ability to send signals to the vocal cord. It does not lead to movement of the vocal cord, but it improves the tone and helps the vocal cords move closer together, improving your child's voice volume.
Since it takes several months for the nerve to receive the signal from the Ansa Cervicalis, a temporary injection is typically done to plump the injured vocal cord, giving the child a temporary improvement in the voice quality.