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Management of retrosternal goiters: experience of a surgical unit.

The aim of this study was to retrospectively analyze 5 years' experience of cervico-mediastinal goiters (CMG) management. Twenty-five patients with cervico-mediastinal goiters underwent surgery between January 1998 and December 2002. The group consisted of 16 females and 9 males (mean age, 48.2 years; range, 42-74 years). A total thyroidectomy under general anesthesia was always performed. A no. 7 Fogarty catheter with a 5-ml balloon was employed in the seven last cases to lift the retrosternal portion of the goiter into the neck. The mean postoperative stay was 3 days (range, 1-7 days), and the mean follow-up time was 29 months (range, 1-58 months). There were no postoperative deaths; overall morbidity rate was 28.0%. One patient with a severe life-threatening hematoma required surgical re-exploration. Surgery for CMGs shows a low morbidity rate; total thyroidectomy is the treatment of choice to prevent recurrences or re-surgery for malignancy.

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