Patients’ perceptions and views of surgery and radioiodine ablation in the definitive management of Graves’ disease

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Patients' perceptions and preferences influence the choice of radioiodine ablation (RIA) or surgery in the definitive management of Graves' disease. This study aimed to evaluate their concerns, experiences and satisfaction following definitive treatment.


A postal survey of patients who had treatment with surgery or RIA between January 2011 and June 2013 for Graves' disease was conducted.


Of 214 patients, 136 (64%) responded. The majority of patients felt actively involved in decision making (83.8%) and were satisfied (84.9%) with their treatment. Compared with RIA, patients who underwent surgery were more satisfied with their treatment (p=0.008). Discussion with the doctor was the most useful aid to decision making. Feeling involved in decision-making process was associated with improved satisfaction (p<0.001).


Common reasons for not choosing surgery were need for general anaesthesia, scarring and voice change. Avoiding close contact, risk of persistent hyperthyroidism and worsening eye disease were common reasons for not choosing RIA. Ongoing concerns were hypothyroidism, scarring and eye problems after surgery and hypothyroidism and eye problems after RIA.


This study provides insight into patients' experiences of surgery and RIA for Graves' disease and reinforces the importance of patient involvement in the decision-making process.

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