How to avoid and to manage post-operative complications in thyroid surgery

Updates Surg. 2017 Jun;69(2):211-215. doi: 10.1007/s13304-017-0475-3. Epub 2017 Jun 23.


Complications of thyroidectomy are hypoparathyroidism, recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy, and hemorrhage. These complications have a low incidence. Hypoparathyroidism is the most frequent complication of total thyroidectomy. Its incidence varies between 0.5 and 65%. This complication is also visible after reoperation for recurrent disease and in patients previously treated with radioiodine. Damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve can be temporary or permanent, unilateral or bilateral. The bilateral lesion, associated with severe episodes of breathlessness, is a rare complication (0.4%). Intraoperative control of nerves is crucial to prevent damage. The hematoma creates an obstacle to venous and lymphatic flow and consequently breathing difficulties. The preventive hemostasis during surgery is important. Therapeutic treatment is described.

Keywords: Complication of thyroidectomy; Hemorrhage; Hypoparathyroidism; RLN palsy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hemorrhage / prevention & control
  • Hemostasis, Surgical / methods
  • Humans
  • Hypoparathyroidism / prevention & control
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Thyroidectomy*
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / prevention & control