Postoperative complications of thyroidectomy for differentiated thyroid carcinoma

Am J Otolaryngol. Jul-Aug 2004;25(4):225-30. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2004.02.001.


Objective: This study evaluates the incidence and risk factors of complications in patients submitted to thyroidectomy for differentiated thyroid carcinoma in a cancer hospital with residency training.

Study design: A retrospective chart and complications review of 316 consecutive patients who underwent thyroidectomy for differentiated thyroid carcinoma.

Results: Of the 316 patients, the main postoperative complications were transient hypocalcemia in 87 (27.5%), permanent hypocalcemia in 16 (5.1%), transient vocal cord palsy in 4 (1.2%), and permanent vocal cord palsy in 2 (0.6%). Neck dissection and paratracheal lymph node dissection when associated with total thyroidectomy were significantly related to transitory and permanent hypocalcemia.

Conclusion: Thyroid surgery can be performed safely in a hospital with medical residency training program under direct supervision of an experienced surgeon with acceptable morbidity. Hypocalcemia is the most significant complication. Neck and paratracheal lymph node dissections were the most significant predictors of hypocalcemia in patients submitted to total thyroidectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hematoma / epidemiology
  • Hematoma / etiology
  • Humans
  • Hypocalcemia / epidemiology*
  • Hypocalcemia / etiology
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Dissection / adverse effects
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Seroma / epidemiology
  • Seroma / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Thyroidectomy / adverse effects*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / epidemiology
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / etiology*