Local Reg Anesth. 2017 Apr 5;10:31-39. doi: 10.2147/LRA.S111554. eCollection 2017.

Murray B1, Tandon S2, Dempsey G1.

Author information:

1 Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care.

2 Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK.


Thyroidectomy has been performed on an inpatient basis because of concerns regarding postoperative complications. These include cervical hematoma, bilateral recurrent laryngeal nerve injury and symptomatic hypocalcemia. We have reviewed the current available evidence and aimed to collate published data to generate incidence of the important complications. We performed a literature search of Medline, EMBASE and the Cochrane database of randomized trials. One hundred sixty papers were included. Twenty-one papers fulfilled inclusion criteria. Thirty thousand four hundred fifty-three day-case thyroid procedures were included. Ten papers were prospective and 11 retrospective. The incidences of complications were permanent vocal cord paralysis 7/30259 (0.02%), temporary hypocalcemia 129/4444 (2.9%), permanent hypocalcemia 405/29203 (1.39%), cervical hematoma 145/30288 (0.48%) and readmission rate 105/29609 (0.35%). Analysis of cervical hematoma data demonstrated that in only 3/14 cases the hematoma presented as an inpatient, and in the remaining 11/14, it occurred late, with a range of 2-9 days. There is a paucity of data relating to anesthetic techniques associated with ambulatory thyroidectomy. Cost comparison between outpatient and inpatient thyroidectomy was reported in three papers. Cost difference ranged from $676 to $2474 with a mean saving of $1301 with ambulatory thyroidectomy. There is a body of evidence that suggests that ambulatory thyroidectomy in the hands of experienced operating teams within an appropriate setting can be performed with acceptable risk profile. In most circumstances, this will be limited to hemithyroidectomies to reduce or avoid the potential for additional morbidity. We have found little evidence to support the use of one anesthetic technique over another. The rates of hospital admission and readmission related to anesthetic factors appear to be low and predominantly related to pain and postoperative nausea and vomiting. A balanced anesthetic technique incorporating appropriate analgesic and antiemetic regimens is essential to avoid unnecessary hospital admission/readmission.

PMCID: PMC5388280 Free PMC Article

PMID: 28435323

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