Total thyroidectomy is the preferred treatment for patients with Graves’ disease and a thyroid nodule

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To identify the indications and outcomes of total thyroidectomy for Graves’ disease in a North American cohort.


Prospective database of 297 patients undergoing total thyroidectomy in a tertiary care center identified 49 patients with Graves’.


There were 37 women and 12 men (mean age, 37.9 years). Common indications for surgery were: refusal of radioactive iodine (20%), thyroid storm (18%), a thyroid nodule (16%), failure of I131(14%), and ophthalmopathy (14%). Complications included: symptomatic hypocalcemia (14%), permanent hypoparathyroidism (0%), and symptoms of recurrent laryngeal nerve injury (0%). Graves’ patients had more bleeding (117 mL versus 48 mL, P < 0.05). Clinical nodules were malignant in 38%. Papillary thyroid carcinoma occurred in 10% of patients, with 60% multifocal, and 60% lymph node metastases.


Total thyroidectomy for Graves’ has minimal morbidity. Patients with Graves’ and a thyroid nodule are at an increased risk for malignancy and should be treated with a total thyroidectomy.

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