Completion Thyroidectomy for Differentiated Thyroid Cancer (Results in a Consecutive Series of 68 Patients)

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Completion thyroidectomy plays an important role in the management of patients with thyroid cancer. The aim of this study is to determine the indications for and timing of a second surgery, as well as surgical complications.

Material and methods:

Operative reports, as well as the hospital and outpatient records of 686 consecutive patients, who had undergone surgery for differentiated thyroid cancer, were reviewed. Among these, 68 (9,9%) patient records of a completion thyroidectomy for cancer were analyzed.


The mean time interval between the first and second operation was 3.6 months (range: 1-9). Post-operative complications occurred in 9 patients (12,9%). Among three patients with inferior laryngeal nerve palsy (4,4%) one had definitive palsy (1.4%). Hypoparathyroidism occurred in 6 patients (8,8%) being permanent in one of them (1.4%). No significant difference either for definitive inferior laryngeal nerve lesions (p = 0.9) or for definitive hypocalcemia (p = 1) was found between the groups of patients who had a completion thyroidectomy and those who had a one-step total thyroidectomy for cancer.


Correct indications for re-operation, total lobectomy as a primary surgical procedure as well as lateral access to the residual thyroid gland could all reduce the high risks of complications related to this kind of surgery.

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