Unilateral benign multinodular versus solitary goiter: Long-term contralateral reoperation rates after lobectomy

Surgery. 2019 Jan;165(1):75-79. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2018.04.074. Epub 2018 Nov 8.


Background: Few long-term studies define the appropriate extent of surgery and recurrence rates for unilateral multinodular goiter. We compared the rate and time to reoperation in patients with multinodular goiter who underwent lobectomy to that of patients with benign solitary nodule.

Methods: Retrospective study of a prospective database of all patients who underwent lobectomy for multinodular goiter or solitary nodule from 1991 to 2017. We analyzed reoperation rates and time to reoperation. Reoperation was defined as the need for completion thyroidectomy determined the following citeria: nodule greater than 3 cm, multiple nodules, nodule growth or suspicion for malignancy by ultrasound or fine-needle aspiration biopsy, or compressive symptoms.

Results: Included in the study were 2,675 lobectomies; 852 (31.85%) for multinodular goiter. In total, 394 patients (14.7%) underwent reoperation: 261 (30.6%) with a previous multinodular goiter and 133 (7.29%) with solitary nodule (P < .0001). A total of 80% of the patients with multinodular goiter and 67.66% with solitary nodule recurred as multinodular goiter; 3.5% of all recurrences were carcinomas. The mean time to reoperation was 14.8 years, without difference between groups (P = .5765). Patients without reoperation were younger (47 ± 15 vs 54 ± 13 years of age, P < .0001) and more likely to be male (P < .0001).

Conclusion: Lobectomy for unilateral multinodular goiter is the procedure of choice given the length of time to reoperation. Patients and surgeons should be aware of the need for long-term surveillance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Female
  • Goiter / surgery*
  • Goiter, Nodular / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thyroidectomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Time Factors