Thyroidectomy for Graves' Disease: A Case-Control Study

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The most common treatment for Graves' disease in the United States is radioactive iodine. Surgery is performed rarely. The surgery for Graves' disease is usually considered technically difficult. Our goal was to assess the differences in outcomes in patients with Graves' disease who underwent thyroidectomy and in patients without Graves' disease who underwent the same procedures.


A retrospective chart review was performed of patients who underwent surgery for Graves' disease between 1997 and 2005. A control group of age-matched and thyroid size-matched patients who underwent thyroidectomy for a diagnosis other than Graves' disease was identified. The groups were statistically compared with respect to length of hospital stay, operative time, and estimated blood loss. Comparison with the published literature was also performed.


Eleven patients underwent thyroidectomy for a diagnosis of Graves' disease. The operative time, estimated blood loss, and length of hospitalization did not differ significantly from those of the control patients. Three of the 4 complications that occurred, however, were in the 3 patients with persistent hyperthyroidism despite medical therapy at the time of surgery.


Thyroidectomy may be performed relatively safely for selected euthyroid patients with Graves' disease. In those with persistent hyperthyroidism at surgery, there were more complications.

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