Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 393, Issue 5, pp 667–673 | Cite as

Complications to thyroid surgery: results as reported in a database from a multicenter audit comprising 3,660 patients

  • A. BergenfelzEmail author
  • S. Jansson
  • A. Kristoffersson
  • H. Mårtensson
  • E. Reihnér
  • G. Wallin
  • I. Lausen
Controlled Prospective Clinical Trials


Background and Aim

During recent years, more radical surgery for thyroid disease, i.e., total instead of subtotal resection, has been evident. Results following this strategy on national levels are scarce.

Materials and methods

From 2004 to 2006, 26 Scandinavian Departments registered 3,660 thyroid operations in a database. Risk factors for complications were analyzed with multiple logistic regression.


After thyroidectomy, re-bleeding occurred in 2.1% and was associated with older age (OR 1.04; p < 0.0001) and male gender (OR 1.90; p = 0.014). Postoperative infection occurred in 1.6% and associated with lymph node operation (OR 8.18; p < 0.0001). Postoperative unilateral paresis of the recurrent laryngeal nerve was diagnosed 3.9% and bilateral paresis in 0.2%. Unilateral paresis was associated with older age, intrathoracic goiter, thyreotoxicosis, and if routine laryngoscopy was practiced (OR 1.92; p = 0.0002). After 6 months, the incidence of nerve paresis was 0.97%. After bilateral thyroid surgery (n = 1,648), hypocalcaemia treated with vitamin D analogue occurred in 9.9% of the patients at the first follow-up and in 4.4% after 6 months.


Complications to thyroid surgery are not uncommon. The high frequency of hypocalcaemia treated with vitamin D after 6 months is a cause of concern.


Thyroid Surgery Complications Audit Database 



The study was supported by grants from the European Union (Interreg. III A), the Swedish National Board for Health and Welfare and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Bergenfelz
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • S. Jansson
    • 3
  • A. Kristoffersson
    • 4
  • H. Mårtensson
    • 5
  • E. Reihnér
    • 6
  • G. Wallin
    • 6
  • I. Lausen
    • 7
  1. 1.Director for the Scandanavian Quality Register for Thyroid and Parathyroid SurgeryLundSweden
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryLund University HospitalLundSweden
  3. 3.Department of SurgerySahlgrenska HospitalGothenburgSweden
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryUmeå University HospitalUmeåSweden
  5. 5.Department of SurgeryHelsingborg Central HospitalHelsingborgSweden
  6. 6.Department of SurgeryKarolinska University HospitalStockholmSweden
  7. 7.Department of Breast and Endocrine SurgeryCopenhagen University Hospital, RigshospitaletCopenhagenDenmark

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