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Laryngoscope. 2006 Jun;116(6):911-5.

Thyroid surgery: changing patterns of practice.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia 30912-4060, USA.



The practice of thyroidectomy has evolved over the past 10 years with the introduction of minimally invasive surgery, laryngeal nerve monitoring, and outpatient surgery. We sought to investigate corresponding trends in the disciplines performing thyroid surgery.


The authors conducted a nonrandomized, case-controlled comparison of surgical volumes and systematic analysis of publication volumes. Two surrogates for the proportion of thyroidectomies being performed by otolaryngologists-head and neck surgeons (OHNS) and general surgeons (GS) were chosen: 1) the operative case logs of graduates from American training programs in OHNS and GS from 1995 through 2004 were compared; and 2) the number of scientific articles published relating to thyroid surgery were systematically queried for two timeframes (1990-1994 and 2000-2004).


There was a gradual increase in the mean number of thyroidectomies performed by GS residents from 13.2 in 1995 to 18.2 in 2004. During the same timeframe, the mean number of thyroidectomies performed by OHNS residents more than doubled from 15.0 to 33.5. The number of American GS thyroid publications from 1990 to 1994 was 79, compared with 98 in the period 2000 to 2004, representing a 24% increase. During the same timeframe, the number of American OHNS articles increased from 14 to 49 (a 250% increase). The relative proportion of thyroid publications authored by American otolaryngologists more than doubled from 15.1% to 33.3% (P = .0017).


A clear trend is emerging in the pattern of thyroid surgery in that a growing proportion of publications are being authored by otolaryngologists compared with general surgeons, and the average number of procedures performed by graduating chief residents is now 84% higher in otolaryngology compared with general surgery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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