Background: The primary goals of this interdisciplinary consensus statement are to define the eligibility criteria for outpatient thyroidectomy and to explore preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative factors that should be considered in order to optimize the safe and efficient performance of ambulatory surgery.
Summary: A series of criteria was developed that may represent relative contraindications to outpatient thyroidectomy, and these fell into the following broad categories: clinical, social, and procedural issues. Intraoperative factors that bear consideration are enumerated, and include choice of anesthesia, use of nerve monitoring, hemostasis, management of the parathyroid glands, wound closure, and extubation. Importantly, postoperative factors are described at length, including suggested discharge criteria and recognition of complications, especially bleeding, airway distress, and hypocalcemia.
Conclusions: Outpatient thyroidectomy may be undertaken safely in a carefully selected patient population provided that certain precautionary measures are taken to maximize communication and minimize the likelihood of complications.