Morbidity and long-term survival in patients with cervical re-exploration for papillary thyroid carcinoma

Innov Surg Sci. 2019 Mar 27;4(3):91-99. doi: 10.1515/iss-2018-0023. eCollection 2019 Sep.


Background: Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) has a favorable prognosis following one-stage surgical therapy, whereas two-stage resections bear the risk of increased morbidity and possibly impaired prognosis. To further elucidate the value of surgical re-exploration in PTC, a retrospective study was performed.

Methods: The study involved 187 patients with PTC who underwent total thyroidectomy with central lymph node dissection between 2001 and 2011. The number of two-stage surgeries, the rates of recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis (RLNP) as well as hypocalcemia, and the long-term survival were assessed.

Results: Two-stage surgeries were performed in 43%. No statistically significant difference was seen between the one- and two-stage resection groups regarding the rate of RLNP (transient 5.6% vs. 6.3%, permanent 2.6% vs. 0%) nor for hypocalcemia (transient 25.2% vs. 18.8%, permanent 14.0% vs. 22.5%). The 10-year recurrence-free survival was 95.5% and the 10-year disease-specific survival was 98.9% with no difference between groups.

Conclusion: Even though two-stage surgeries do not lead to a higher incidence of RLNP and hypocalcemia, optimal preoperative and intraoperative diagnostics have to be carried out to reduce the amount of completion surgeries.

Keywords: hypocalcemia; prognosis; recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis; two-stage resections.