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Chir Ital. 2007 Mar-Apr;59(2):149-53.

[Length of hospital stay and complications in thyroid surgery. Our experience].

[Article in Italian]

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Dipartimento di Chirurgia e Scienze Odontostomatologiche, Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Policlinico Universitario.


Length of hospital stays for thyroid surgery has decreased significantly over the last years. Hypoparathyroidism is one of the main obstacles to short-stay hospitalization. The aim of this study was to evaluate length of hospital stay in our experience, its relationship with complications observed and feasibility of short-stay hospitalization regimen. Between September 2002 and December 2005, 932 patients underwent total thyroidectomy in our institution. Serum calcium and phosphorus values were obtained at 6 hours after operation and on postoperative day 1 and 2. Discharge was possible on the morning of the first postoperative day in 2 patients (0.2%), the second day in 687 (73.7%), third day in 167 (17.9%), fourth in 44 (4.7%), fifth in 22 (2.4%), after the fifth in 10 (1.1%). Complications observed were hypoparathyroidism in 393 patients (42.1%), neck hematoma in 12 (1.3%), bilateral recurrent nerve palsy in 5 (0.5%), unilateral recurrent nerve palsy in 4 (0.4%), glottic hemorrhagic edema in 1 (0.1%) and foreign body granuloma and/or fistula in 5 (0.5%). Hypocalcemia was observed on post-operative day 1 in 338 patients (86%), on day 2 in 50 (12.72%) and on day 3 in 5 (1.27%). Serum calcium and phosphorus determination 6 hours after operation and on postoperative day 1 permits an early treatment of hypocalcemia and to shorten length of hospital stay. A normal serum calcium level on postoperative day 1 lets suppose an easy discharge on the second. Earlier discharge is to be reserved to selected patients and not always meets their favour.

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