Safety of total thyroidectomy

Jonothan W Serpell, Diana Phan

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70 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Total thyroidectomy is the preferred operation for multinodular goitre, Graves disease and thyroid cancer. This study reviewed prospectively collected data on a personal consecutive series of 336 total thyroidectomies to assess whether results reported in world centres of excellence could also be achieved elsewhere. Methods: Between 1991 and 2004, 336 total thyroidectomies (85 over the last 6 years) of median age 53 years (13-86 years) and male : female ratio of 1:4.3 were undertaken for multinodular goitre 232 (69 ), Graves disease 26 (7.7 ), thyroid cancer 60 (17.9 ) and other benign conditions 17 (5.4 ). Thirty-nine patients had 2-stage procedures. No patient required median sternotomy. Parathyroid autotransplantation was carried out in 43 (12.8 ). Results: Permanent unilateral recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy occurred in 0.3 and permanent hypoparathyroidism in 1.8 . Significant temporary hypocalcaemia occurred in 13.4 . Non-significant temporary hypocalcaemia occurred in 23.8 , resulting in an overall rate of hypocalcaemia of 38.9 for the total series. Hypocalcaemia was more common after 1-stage compared with 2-stage surgeries (P <0.001). Temporary hypocalcaemia was commoner after surgery for Graves disease than surgery for other conditions. The rate of postoperative haemorrhage was 0.9 and wound infection, 1.5 . There was no postoperative mortality. Conclusion: Total thyroidectomy removes the disease process completely, lowers local recurrence rates and avoids the substantial risks of reoperative surgery. Total thyroidectomy is safe and can be carried out with low complication rates that are equal to world centres of excellence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15 - 19
Number of pages5
JournalANZ Journal of Surgery
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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