, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 1729-1733
Date: 19 Jan 2011

Surveillance and Intervention After Thyroid Lobectomy

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After thyroid lobectomy, many patients require ongoing care. This study sought to quantify the rates of surveillance and intervention after thyroid lobectomy.


One hundred one consecutive patients who underwent a thyroid lobectomy for nodular disease were evaluated. Clinical and follow-up data were obtained by a review of patient charts and included an evaluation of resource utilization related to thyroid disease.


Nineteen patients required completion thyroidectomy for thyroid cancer, and 11 had hypothyroidism before lobectomy. Of the remaining evaluable patients, 30 (42.2%) of 71 required thyroid hormone replacement after lobectomy, with 24 patients having elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone and 6 suppression of nodules in the contralateral lobe. The likelihood of thyroid hormone replacement demonstrated a trend with a contralateral nodule (9 of 14 vs. 21 of 57, P = 0.06) and a significant association with thyroiditis on surgical pathology (10 of 11 vs. 20 of 60, P < 0.001). Of the 82 patients who did not undergo completion lobectomy, 10 (12%) of 82 underwent postoperative fine-needle aspiration of the contralateral lobe, and 25 (30%) of 82 were followed with ultrasound surveillance. Only 27% of patients treated with lobectomy required no further surveillance or intervention. There were no instances of permanent recurrent laryngeal nerve injury.


After thyroid lobectomy, most patients require continued surveillance and intervention. With a near-zero complication rate, total thyroidectomy may be a more effective and efficient option for management of nodular thyroid disease.

Presented as a poster at the annual meeting of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, 31st Annual Meeting, Omni William Penn, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 18–20 April 2010.