Surgery for thyrotoxicosis

Mauricio Moreno, Nancy D. Perrier and Orlo Clark

in Oxford Textbook of Endocrinology and Diabetes

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199235292
Published online July 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199608232 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Surgery for thyrotoxicosis

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Surgical intervention plays a critical role in the management of thyrotoxicosis. Despite this, radioactive iodine is still the most popular treatment modality in the USA. Thyrotoxicosis, the condition of hyperthyroidism, is due to the increased secretion of thyroid hormone, and may be caused by toxic solitary nodules, toxic multinodular goitre (Plummer’s disease), or diffuse toxic goitre (Graves’ disease). Graves’ disease is the condition of goitre and associated clinical features of tachycardia and bulging eyes described by Dr Robert James Graves (1797–1853) in 1835 (1). Understanding the pathophysiology of the condition of thyrotoxicosis is essential in the appropriate selection of surgical candidates and planning the most suitable technique. Generally, accepted indications for thyroidectomy for thyrotoxicosis include: suspicion of malignancy by physical examination (firmness, irregularity, or attachment to local structures) or by fine-needle aspiration cytology of nodules; pregnancy; women desiring pregnancy within 6–12 months of treatment; lactation; medical necessity for rapid control of symptoms (patients with cardiac morbidity); local compression (pain, dysphagia); recurrence after antithyroid drug treatment; fear of radioactive iodine treatment; resistance to 131I or antithyroid drugs; or thyroid storm unresponsive to medical therapy. Other more relative indications for thyroidectomy also include: large goitres greater than 100 g that are less likely to respond to radioactive treatment and require a large treatment dose of 131I; severe Graves’ ophthalmopathy; poor compliance with antithyroid drugs; children and adolescents; a large, bothersome, and unsightly goitre; amiodarone-induced thyrotoxicosis, in cases when medical treatment is ineffective and amiodarone is necessary to treat cardiac disease; or hypersensitivity to iodine.

Chapter.  4746 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Endocrinology and Diabetes

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