This article illustrates a case of delayed vocal cord paralysis after blunt neck trauma. Delayed nerve palsy has been frequently described in relation to some nerves such the median nerve but not the recurrent laryngeal nerve.
A 69 year old man presented with a minimally displaced fracture of the thyroid cartilage which was managed conservatively. No airway intervention was required. Both vocal cords were mobile during three days of observation. At 14 days there was a palsy of the right vocal cord.
Fractures of the larynx may need surgical intervention. Surgery may be complicated by a recurrent laryngeal nerve injury. Postoperative detection of a vocal cord palsy can be a complication of either the surgery or initial trauma.