Evolution of pediatric thyroid surgery at a tertiary medical center

Academic Article


  • Background: Thyroidectomy in the pediatric population is often avoided due to perceived risks in children. With growing subspecialization and establishment of high volume endocrine surgery centers, the indications for thyroid surgery and extent of resection continue to change. We examined the evolution of pediatric thyroid surgery at a high volume tertiary medical center. Methods: From our prospectively collected database, we reviewed medical records of individuals younger than 19 y who underwent thyroidectomy at our institution from 1994 to 2009. Patients were divided into two groups: (1) before establishment of our endocrine surgery center (1994-2001) and (2) since establishment of the center (2002-2009). Results: We identified 78 operations performed on 74 patients with a median age of 15 (range 3-18) y. We found that the number of patients doubled in the later time period, with 26 operations in group 1 and 52 in group 2. The age of patients and percentage of females were similar between groups. After establishment of the endocrine surgery center, there was a significant increase in total thyroidectomies for all indications, including significantly more for benign disease. Overall, 9% of the patient population experienced transient complications, with no permanent complications or long-term sequelae. Conclusions: Pediatric thyroid surgery is extremely safe, especially when performed at a high volume endocrine surgery center. We more often select surgical treatment for benign disease and choose total thyroidectomy over limited resection. This may reflect increasing confidence in the safety and efficacy of surgery and reliability of thyroid hormone replacement. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Burke JF; Sippel RS; Chen H
  • Start Page

  • 268
  • End Page

  • 274
  • Volume

  • 177
  • Issue

  • 2