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World J Surg. 2014 Apr;38(4):878-81. doi: 10.1007/s00268-014-2453-y.

Thyroid surgery without antibiotic prophylaxis: experiences with 1,030 patients from a teaching hospital in China.

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  • 1Department of Surgical Oncology, TungWah Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Dongguan, 523110, China,



Our objective was to evaluate the outcome of thyroidectomy without the use of prophylactic antibiotics. This study was held from January 2005 to May 2012 in a teaching hospital in Dongguan, China.


A total of 1,030 thyroidectomy patients were retrospectively reviewed and basic data were recorded, including age, sex, peri-operative antibiotic use, type of thyroid surgery done, and post-operative complications. Either an open approach or an endoscopic approach was performed according to the doctor's or patient's preference following a strict aseptic technique. The drain was routinely placed. Any complications were analyzed.


A total of 834 (81 %) females and 196 (19 %) males were included, giving a ratio of 4.2:1. The average age was 38.3 years. The mean operation time was 85.3 min. Pathological type included 818 (79.4 %) nodular goiter, 34 (3.3 %) Graves' disease, 102 (9.9 %) nodular papillary hyperplasia, 12 (1.2 %) Hashimoto's disease, 62 (6 %) papillary carcinoma, and 2 (0.2 %) medullary carcinoma. Four patients had postoperative bleeding, four had temporally recurrent nerve paralysis. Only one had wound infection (0.09 %).


Antibiotic prophylaxis in elective thyroidectomy is not an essential pre-operation preparation for all patients, if guidelines for antibiotic prophylaxis in clean surgery are adhered to and surgeons have sophisticated skills in the procedure.

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