Completion Thyroidectomy in the Management of Well-Differentiated Thyroid Carcinoma

Mark K. Wax, T. David R. Briant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Completion thyroidectomy is the removal of any thyroid tissue that remains after less than total thyroidectomy. At our center, completion thyroidectomy is used when, on permanent sectioning, a frozen section diagnosis is revised from benign to malignant. We reviewed our experience with completion thyroidectomy to examine its indications and complications. We found that the carcinoma was misdiagnosed in 32 of 244 (13%) of cases. Twenty-five of these were initially designated follicular adenomas. The completion proved to be no more technically difficult than a routine hemithyroidectomy. There was one case of permanent hypoparathyroidism (3%). Transient vocal cord palsy occurred in one patient (3%) and transient hypocalcemia occured in five patients (15%). Complete recovery occurred in all six of these patients. Focal areas of residual carcinoma were found in 8 of 32 (25%) of glands removed at completion. We found completion thyroidectomy to be a safe procedure with minimal morbidity. We recommend its use in those instances of well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma in which the frozen section diagnosis differs from the permanent section.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-68
Number of pages6
JournalOtolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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