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J Am Coll Surg. 2007 Oct;205(4):602-7.

Completion thyroidectomy versus total thyroidectomy: is there a difference in complication rates? An analysis of 350 patients.

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University of Toronto, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Wharton Head and Neck Program, University Health Network, Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



This study compared our experience with completion thyroidectomy (CT) and total thyroidectomy (TT) in the management of well-differentiated thyroid cancer (WDTC). We compared complication rates and analyzed the implications of the intraoperative management of the parathyroid glands.


We performed a retrospective cohort study comparing outcomes between patients undergoing CT and TT between January 1994 and December 2004. All patients had surgery for either suspected or confirmed WDTC on fine-needle aspiration.


There were 201 CTs and 149 TTs. Mean hospital stays were 4.5 and 3.5 days for the CT and TT groups, respectively (p=0.001). Temporary recurrent laryngeal nerve paresis occurred in 2.0% (4 of 201) and 3.3% (5 of 149) of patients in the CT and TT groups, respectively. There was one (0.5%) case of permanent recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis in the CT group. Permanent hypoparathyroidism rates were 2.5% and 3.3% in the CT and TT groups, respectively. There was no difference between the two groups in terms of total numbers of parathyroid glands autotransplanted (p=0.63) or present in the specimen (p=0.26).


Completion thyroidectomy is a safe and appropriate option in the management of select cases of WDTC in which a definitive preoperative or intraoperative diagnosis is not available. But it requires a longer hospitalization, so it has implications for both hospital resources and the patients involved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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