TOTAL THYROIDECTOMY AS A SURGICAL METHOD FOR TREATING HYPERTHYROIDISM: OUR EXPERIENCES
Ivan Kovačić, Marijan Kovačić
Treatment of hyperthyroidism can be achieved in two ways, prevent the synthesis of hormones by antithyroid drugs or carry out permanent destruction of the thyroid tissue by radioiodine therapy or surgical intervention. Today, surgical treatment of selected cases of hyperthyroidism usually follows the failure andor side effects of medication and radioiodine treatment. Surgery as an initial method of treatment of this disease is quite rare. Considering the scope of the surgical procedure, we distinguish subtotal, almost total and total thyroidectomy. In this paper we present our experience in the treatment of patients with hyperthyroidism with total thyroidectomy method. We analyzed the indications for surgery and evaluated its effectiveness and safety in 163 patients with hyperthyroidism. Out of the total number we formed two groups according to the cause of the disease. G1 group included 102 (62.5%) patients with Graves’ disease (GD), and the second group (G2) 61 patients (37.5%) with toxic multinodular goiter (TMNG). Prior to surgical treatment, 83% of patients were treated with antithyroid drugs, in G1-100%, and in G2 54%. The surgical procedure as the only treatment method in G2 was 46% (total 17%). The main indications for surgical treatment in G1, except recurrences, were side effects of antithyroid drugs and ophthalmopathy, and in G2 large goiters with or without compression syndrome, as well as their retrosternal localization. During the surgery, in all patientsa recurrent laryngeal nerve and two to four parathyroid glands were seen on both sides. Revision procedure, due to bleeding, was done in two patients with GD. One of them also underwent tracheotomy. None of the patients had bilateral recurrent laryngeal nerve injury. One sided paralysis, immediately after surgery, was observed in three patients, and in two of themthere was a complete recovery of the mobility of vocal cords. Transient low calcium levels in blood immediately after the procedure were observed in 29% of patients (G1 – 26%: G2 – 36%) with no statistically significant differences across groups. During the first postoperative week 67% of calcium levels were normalized. None of the patients had permanent hypocalcemia. The total incidence of papillary carcinoma was 8%, slightly higher in G2 (10%) than in G1 (5%), but without significant differences. With regard to the cause of the disease, GD and TMNG, total thyroidectomy was applied for various reasons, but it achieved identical scores of treatment safety and efficacy. We might consider it a safe and effective method in selectively chosen and before surgery well prepared patients. This surgery, performed by an experienced surgeon, has a low percentage of permanent complications and should be presented to patients as a treatment option with all risks and benefits compared to other methods of treating hyperthyroidism.