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May 1981

The Morbidity of Total Thyroidectomy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Evanston (Ill) Hospital (Drs Scanlon, Winchester, and Larson and Ms Kellogg), and Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago (Drs Scanlon, Winchester, and Larson).

Arch Surg. 1981;116(5):568-571. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1981.01380170050009

• Of 245 total thyroidectomies done over a ten-year period, most were in patients who had previously received irradiation about the head and neck for benign conditions in infancy and childhood. There was no operative mortality, and only one patient had postoperative bleeding requiring reoperation. Of six patients with paralyzed recurrent laryngeal nerves in the immediate postoperative period, vocal cord function returned in all but one over one year. Forty-nine patients required at least one dose of calcium postoperatively, and 41 were taking calcium when discharged from the hospital. After one year, only two patients took calcium regularly; in both, lymph nodes were removed from both paratracheal grooves. In evaluating comparative statistics, increased morbidity of total thyroidectomy needs to be considered on a long-term basis rather than in the immediate postoperative period.

(Arch Surg 1981;116:568-571)