Five-year follow-up of a randomized clinical trial of total thyroidectomy versus Dunhill operation versus bilateral subtotal thyroidectomy for multinodular nontoxic goiter

Marcin Barczyński, Aleksander Konturek, Alicja Hubalewska-Dydejczyk, Filip Gołkowski, Stanisław Cichoń, Wojciech Nowak
World Journal of Surgery 2010, 34 (6): 1203-13

BACKGROUND: The extent of thyroid resection in multinodular nontoxic goiter (MNG) is controversial. The aim of the present study was to evaluate results of various thyroid resection modes, with special emphasis put on the recurrence rate and morbidity rate, in a 5-year follow-up.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: From 01/2000 through 12/2003, 600 consenting patients with MNG qualified for thyroidectomy at our institution were randomized to three groups equal in size, n = 200 in each. Patients in group A underwent total thyroidectomy (TT); patients in group B underwent Dunhill operation (DO), whereas patients in group C underwent bilateral subtotal thyroidectomy (BST). All patients were subjected to ultrasonographic, cytological, and biochemical follow-up at least for 60 months postoperatively. The primary outcome measure was prevalence of recurrent goiter and need for redo surgery. The secondary outcome measure was the postoperative morbidity rate (hypoparathyroidism and recurrent laryngeal nerve injury).

RESULTS: Recurrent goiter was found in 0.52% TT versus 4.71% DO versus 11.58% BST (p = 0.01 for TT versus DO, p = 0.02 for DO versus BST, p < 0.001 for TT versus BST), and completion thyroidectomy was necessary in 0.52% TT versus 1.57% DO versus 3.68% BST (p = 0.03 for TT versus BST). Transient postoperative hypoparathyroidism was present in 10.99% versus 4.23% versus 2.1% (p = 0.007 for TT versus DO, p < 0.001 for TT versus BST), whereas the recurrent laryngeal nerve injury rate was 5.49% and 1.05% TT versus 4.23% and 0.79% DO versus 2.1% and 0.53% BST (transient and permanent, respectively; p = 0.007 for transient events TT versus BST).

CONCLUSIONS: Total thyroidectomy can be regarded as the procedure of choice for patients with MNG. It is associated with a significantly lower incidence of goiter recurrence and less frequent need for completion thyroidectomy than other more limited thyroid resections. However, TT involves a significantly higher risk of postoperative transient but not permanent hypoparathyroidism and recurrent laryngeal nerve paresis.

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