Thyroidectomy Remains a Safe Option for Graves' Disease

Am Surg. 2019 Aug 1;85(8):851-854.


Total thyroidectomy (TT) or near-TT (NTT) is often recommended over medical management for the treatment of Graves' disease (GD). We assess the safety within surgical subspecialties at our institution for TT/NTT in GD patients. A retrospective review of patients undergoing TT/NTT for GD was performed from 2004 to 2016. Patient factors, thyroid size, surgeon subspecialty, and intraoperative/postoperative outcomes were all reviewed. Multivariate analyses were used to determine risk factors for complications. A total of 383 patients underwent TT/NTT. Two hundred thirty-three patients underwent TT/NTT by otolaryngology (n = 233, 60.8%), surgical oncology (n = 140, 36.6%), general surgery (n = 8, 2.1%), and unknown (n = 2, 0.5%). On multivariate analysis, surgical duration was longer for males (P = 0.001) and increased thyroid weights (P = 0.001). No association with hypocalcemia or recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis was found with factors considered. No factors were found to be associated with the ability to identify the recurrent laryngeal nerve. Estimated blood loss (EBL) was increased in younger patients (0.010), males (P = 0.001), increased BMI (P = 0.012), and increased thyroid weight (P < 0.001). EBL was also associated with the physician performing the operation, where EBL was greatest for TT/NTT performed by general surgeons, followed by surgical oncologists and then by otolaryngology (P = 0.006). TT/NTT is safe and a reasonable option for the treatment of GD.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Loss, Surgical / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Graves Disease / pathology
  • Graves Disease / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Oncologists / statistics & numerical data
  • Operative Time
  • Organ Size
  • Otolaryngology / statistics & numerical data
  • Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Surgeons / statistics & numerical data
  • Thyroidectomy / adverse effects*
  • Thyroidectomy / methods
  • Young Adult