Definition of Nerve, recurrent laryngeal

Nerve, recurrent laryngeal: One of the best known branches of the vagus nerve, a very long nerve that originates in the brainstem. After the recurrent laryngeal nerve leaves the vagus nerve, it goes down into the chest and then loops back up ("recurs") to supply nerves to the larynx (the voice box). Damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve causes laryngeal palsy -- paralysis of the larynx -- on the affected side and can result from diseases inside the chest such as a tumor or an aneurysm of the arch of the aorta.

Last Editorial Review: 7/1/2016

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