Same day discharge after thyroidectomy is safe and effective

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Historically, thyroidectomies have been performed as inpatient operations due to concerns of postoperative bleeding and symptomatic hypocalcemia. We aim to demonstrate that outpatient thyroidectomy can be performed safely.


This report outlines a 7-year retrospective analysis (2009–2016) of outpatient vs inpatient thyroidectomies, with outcomes including hematoma, blood loss, recurrent laryngeal nerve injury, symptomatic hypocalcemia, and postoperative emergency room (ER) visits.


A total of 1460 thyroidectomies were performed: 1272 (87%) outpatient and 188 (13%) inpatient. Five outpatients: 4 total thyroidectomies (TT), 1 TT with a central lymph node dissection (CLND), and 1 partial thyroidectomy (PT) developed postoperative hematomas (0.34%) at post-discharge hour 3, 9, 10, 13, and 42. Average time to discharge was 2 hours and 37 minutes. Hematomas were evacuated successfully in the operating room under local anesthesia with a 2-day average hospital stay. There were no differences between TT, thyroid lobectomy (TL), and PT procedures for postoperative hematoma (p=0.17). Outpatient compared to inpatient thyroidectomy was more likely to have been performed in patients with lower American Society of Anesthesia scores (2.3 vs 2.9, p<0.0001), less mean blood loss (74 vs 227 ml, p<0.0001), lesser age (52 vs 56 years, p=0.0012), less extensive dissection (p<0.0001), and fewer RLN injuries (2.4% vs 8.5%, p<0.0001). There was no difference between outpatient and inpatient symptomatic hypocalcemia (6.3% vs 9.6%, p=0.09), 30-day postoperative ER visits (8.8% vs 9.6%, p=0.73), and postoperative hematoma (0.39% vs 0%, p=0.39). There was one inpatient mortality from stroke.


Postoperative hematomas can be managed safely without life-threatening complications suggesting outpatient thyroidectomy can be performed safely by an experienced surgeon, and adverse sequelae dealt with in a safe and effective manner.

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