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Surgery. 2014 Mar;155(3):529-40. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2013.10.017. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of total thyroidectomy versus bilateral subtotal thyroidectomy for Graves' disease.

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  • 1Department of General Surgery, Misericordia e Dolce Hospital, Prato, Italy. Electronic address:
  • 2Department of General Surgery, Misericordia e Dolce Hospital, Prato, Italy.
  • 3Department of Nuclear Medicine, Misericordia e Dolce Hospital, Prato, Italy.
  • 4Department of Medical and Surgical Critical Care, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.



Our aim was to perform a meta-analysis of high-quality published trials, randomized and observational, comparing total thyroidectomy (TT) and bilateral subtotal thyroidectomy (ST) for Graves' disease.


All studies published from 1970 to August 2012 were identified. All randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included. Selection of high-quality, nonrandomized comparative studies (NRCTs) was based on a validated tool (Methodological Index for Nonrandomized Studies). Recurrent hyperthyroidism during follow-up, progression of ophthalmopathy, postoperative temporary and permanent hypoparathyroidism, and permanent recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) palsy were compared using odds ratios (ORs).


Twenty-three studies were included (4 RCTs and 19 NRCTs) compromising 3,242 patients (1,665 TT, 1,577 ST). TT was associated with a decrease in recurrent hyperthyroidism (P < .00001; OR, 0.10; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.06-0.18), but with an increase in both temporary (P < .00001; OR, 2.70; 95% CI, 2.04-3.56) and permanent hypoparathyroidism (P = .005; OR, 2.91; 95% CI, 1.59-5.32). Progression of ophthalmopathy (P = .76; OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.48-1.71) and permanent RLN palsy (P = .82; OR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.41-2.02) were similar.


TT offers a better chance of cure of hyperthyroidism than bilateral ST and can be accomplished safely with only a small increase in temporary and permanent hypoparathyroidism.

Copyright © 2014 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

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