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February 2016

The American Thyroid Association Guidelines on Voice Assessment—Have We Done Enough?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville
  • 2GRU Thyroid Center, Georgia Regents University, Augusta
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016;142(2):115-116. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2015.3222

For the first time since their inception, the American Thyroid Association (ATA) guidelines include a recommendation regarding voice assessment as it pertains to thyroid surgery.1 This marks a distinct change from the 2009 guidelines, which do not mention voice assessment or laryngeal examination. The current guidelines recommend a preoperative voice assessment for all patients undergoing thyroid surgery. Furthermore, a preoperative laryngeal examination is recommended in certain situations: patients with preoperative voice changes, a history of neck or chest surgery, a posteriorly located thyroid cancer, or extensive central compartment nodal disease. The guidelines also recommend that all patients have a postoperative voice assessment, with formal laryngeal examination reserved for patients with voice complaints. This addition to the most recent ATA guidelines marks an important step in the right direction.

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