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Journal of Thyroid Research
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 231857, 6 pages
Clinical Study

The Morbidity of Reoperative Surgery for Recurrent Benign Nodular Goitre: Impact of Previous Unilateral Thyroid Lobectomy versus Subtotal Thyroidectomy

Department of Endocrine Surgery, University Hospital of Poitiers, 86021 Poitiers, France

Received 8 June 2013; Revised 22 September 2013; Accepted 20 October 2013; Published 19 January 2014

Academic Editor: Thomas J. Fahey

Copyright © 2014 Navin Rudolph et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Subtotal thyroidectomy (STT) was previously considered the gold standard in the surgical management of multinodular goitre despite its propensity for recurrence. Our aim was to assess whether prior STT or unilateral lobectomy was associated with increased reoperative morbidity. Methods. A retrospective analysis was conducted extracting data from our endocrine surgical database for the period from January 1991 to June 2006. Two patient groups were defined: Group 1 consisted of patients with previous unilateral thyroid lobectomy; Group 2 had undergone previous STT. Specific outcomes investigated were transient and permanent recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury and hypoparathyroidism. Results. 494 reoperative cases were performed which consisted of 259 patients with previous unilateral lobectomy (Group 1) and 235 patients with previous subtotal thyroidectomy (Group 2). A statistically significant increase relating to previous STT was demonstrated in both permanent RLN injury (0.77% versus 3.4%, RR 4.38, ) and permanent hypoparathyroidism (1.5% versus 5.1%, RR 3.14, ). Transient nerve injury and hypocalcaemia incidence was comparable. Conclusions. Reoperative surgery following subtotal thyroidectomy is associated with a significantly increased risk of permanent recurrent laryngeal nerve injury and hypoparathyroidism when compared with previous unilateral thyroidectomy. Subtotal thyroidectomy should therefore no longer be recommended in the management of multinodular goitre.