• Total thyroidectomy;
  • thyroid surgery;
  • benign nodular thyroid disease;
  • recurrence;
  • complications


Objectives/Hypothesis: The use of total thyroidectomy in thyroid cancer treatment is not unanimous, and it is even more controversial when this procedure is advocated for benign diseases. On the other hand, the complication risk may have an increase up to 20 times in repeat operations for recurrence. The objective of the study was to evaluate the use of total thyroidectomy in benign diseases, multinodular goiter, and Graves disease to justify the authors' preference. Study Design: Retrospective study of use of total thyroidectomy in benign diseases. Methods: Retrospective study of 1789 patients who underwent thyroidectomies from June 1990 to December 2000. Indication, extension of thyroidectomy, cancer incidence, and complications were analyzed. Results: Total thyroidectomy was performed in 81.19% of 456 patients with nontoxic multinodular goiter, 93.93% of 33 with toxic multinodular goiter, 93.93% of 66 with recurrent multinodular goiter, and 49.18% of 122 with Graves disease. Thyroid cancer was found in 16.62%, 9.09%, 3.03% and 5.73% of patients, respectively. Transitory and permanent hypoparathyroidism, hematoma requiring surgical intervention, and transitory and permanent recurrent laryngeal nerve injury occurred in 12.27%, 1.61%, 0.26%, 1.88%, and 0.35% of the patients undergoing total thyroidectomy, respectively. Permanent complications of total thyroidectomy for nontoxic multinodular goiter and Graves disease were similar to nontotal thyroidectomy. Use of total thyroidectomy for nontoxic multinodular goiter increased from 53.33% of the patient to 81.19%, on average, with a concomitant increase of cancer diagnosis from 11.11% to 16,62%. The authors performed total thyroidectomy for all patients with Graves disease. Conclusion: Total thyroidectomy is the treatment of choice for multinodular goiter and thyroiditis, when there is bilateral gland involvement posterior to middle thyroid veins, and for Graves disease because it decreases the likelihood of future repeat operations for recurrent disease and thus the associated risks, when performed safely.