<bold>The aim of the study</bold> was to describe the experience of the authors in performing total thyroidectomies in patients referred to surgical treatment with the diagnosis of non-neoplastic multinodular goiter.
<bold>Material and methods.</bold> Over a period of 6 years (2000-2005), 4999 surgical procedures were performed in patients diagnosed as having non-neoplastic goiter at our department. Thus, the analysis does not include patients operated on due to carcinoma of the thyroid, diagnosed either pre- or intraoperatively, or individuals with recurrent goiter. Total thyroidectomies were performed in 408 (8.16%) patients. Subtotal thyroidectomies, i.e. a total lobectomy involving one, dominant thyroid lobe and combined with a subtotal resection of the contralateral lobe, were done in 1251 (25.02%) individuals. In patients with lesions involving one thyroid lobe only, the operators performed a total resection of the affected lobe, while leaving the normal, contralateral lobe without any surgical intervention. Such a procedure was performed in 89 (1.78%) individuals. In very few cases, the operation consisted of a subtotal unilateral lobectomy; such a treatment modality was employed in 39 (0.78%) patients. The predominantly performed procedure employed in 3212 (64.1%) patients was subtotal bilateral lobectomy of the thyroid gland. The patients were divided into groups according to the type of surgery performed. The groups were then compared for clinical diagnosis and the prevalence of early and late postoperative complications. The Student-t test was employed to calculate the probability and confidence interval values.
<bold>Results.</bold> Among surgical patients not suspected of thyroid carcinomas, neoplastic lesions were, nevertheless, confirmed by postoperative histopathology in 310 (6.2%) individuals. As shown in the presented data, increased extent of the procedure was associated with thyroid carcinoma, diagnosed only by postoperative histopathology an increased number of complications, among which the most common was hypocalcemia.
<bold>Conclusions.</bold> 1. Total thyroidectomy may be a preferred method for treating bilateral multinodular goiter; when performed by an experienced endocrine surgeon, it is associated with a low percentage of postoperative complications. 2. Total thyroidectomy in bilateral multinodular goiters lead to a decreased number of secondary operations in patients.
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