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Surgery. 2012 Dec;152(6):1165-71. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2012.08.056.

Long-term follow-up data may help manage patient and parent expectations for pediatric patients undergoing thyroidectomy.

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Section of Surgical Endocrinology, Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77230-1402, USA.



We investigated the incidence and impact of postoperative complications in children who underwent total thyroidectomy (TTx).


The records of all pediatric patients undergoing TTx (2001-2011) at our institution were retrospectively reviewed for the occurrence of biochemical hypothyroidism (thyroid-stimulating hormone >10 mIU/mL), laboratory assessments, and medication nonadherence.


The 74 patients (median age, 12.5 years) had thyroid cancer (differentiated, n = 39; medullary, n = 16) or benign pathology (n = 19; 16 with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A). The median postoperative follow-up was 3.2 years; 46 patients (62%) had ≥ 1 year follow-up. Forty-one percent had ≥ 1 period of medication nonadherence; this was not associated with age at TTx (P = .30). Non-treatment-related hypothyroidism occurred in 33% of patients during postoperative year (POY) 1. The number of POY1 laboratory assessments among the 30% of patients with parathyroid dysfunction was more than twice that among patients with normal parathyroid function (median assessments per year 8 vs 3; P < .0001). Forty-four percent of patients/families reported behavioral or physiologic changes; 40% were concomitant with abnormal thyroid function.


More than 40% of pediatric patients were unable to fully adhere to postoperative medication regimens, and non-treatment-related hypothyroidism was common. Postoperative hypoparathyroidism doubled the number of laboratory assessments obtained. These data may help families better prepare for TTx sequelae.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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