The role of intraoperative neural monitoring (IONM) in thyroid and parathyroid surgery remains a controversial subject for surgeons regardless of surgical training and background. This study aims to compare usage patterns and motivations behind IONM among otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons (OTO-HNS) and general surgeons (GS) performing thyroid and parathyroid surgery. The study is a multi-institution survey of 103 otolaryngology and affiliated 103 GS programs in the US. 206 surveys were sent to OTO-HNS and GS academic program directors with a response rate of 44.7 %. Of those who performed thyroid surgery, 80.6 % of OTO-HNS and 48.0 % of GS surgeons reported using IONM. 44.3 % of OTO-HNS and 30.8 % of GS respondents used IONM in all thyroid cases. For thyroid surgery, as surgical volume increased, surgeons were more likely to use IONM more frequently. Fourteen percent (14 %) of the OTO-HNS and 41.7 % of the GS respondents used IONM primarily to locate the RLN. Forty percent (40 %) of the OTO-HNS and 8.3 % of the GS used IONM for medicolegal reasons. The majority of OTO-HNS programs use IONM for thyroid and parathyroid surgery, whereas less than half of GS programs regularly use IONM for these surgeries. Thyroid surgeons, with larger thyroid surgery volume, regardless of discipline, tend to use IONM more. The motivations for using IONM differ significantly between OTO-HNS and general surgeons in that more GS use it for locating the RLN, and more OTO-HNS use it for continuous monitoring of the nerve during resection and for medicolegal purposes.
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