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Postoperative swallowing disorder after thyroid and parathyroid resection

Authors Hillenbrand A, Cammerer G, Dankesreiter L, Lemke J, Henne-Bruns D

Received 23 April 2018

Accepted for publication 14 July 2018

Published 16 October 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 63—68


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor David Price

Andreas Hillenbrand, Gregor Cammerer, Lisa Dankesreiter, Johannes Lemke, Doris Henne-Bruns

Department of General and Visceral Surgery, Ulm University Medical Center, 89081 Ulm, Germany

Introduction: Dysphagia is frequently reported after thyroidectomy. Here, we investigated the incidence of postoperative dysphagia after uncomplicated thyroidectomy and parathyroidectomy. Further, we analyzed diagnosis and types of therapy to identify possible patients at risk.
Patients and methods: A questionnaire was sent to 372 consecutive patients whose thyroid or parathyroid glands were operated on between May 2013 and October 2014 at Ulm University Hospital. Patients were questioned at least 6 months postoperatively.
Results: In the evaluation, 219 questionnaires could be included. Fifty-three (21.3%) patients reported that the overall postoperative swallowing process was better or more trouble-free. In 110 (50.2%) patients, dysphagia was reported only immediately postoperative and disappeared later spontaneously. Sixteen patients (7.3%) stated that after a maximum of 3 months after surgery they suffered from dysphagia. One (0.5%) patient stated that up to 3 months postoperatively, swallowing problems had been successfully treated by logopedic therapy. In 39 (17.6%) patients, the complaints persisted for more than 3 months or still existed at the time of the interview. We found no correlation between dysphagia and patients’ age or gender, the specimen volume, and patients’ body mass index. The more invasive the operation was, the more patients suffered from dysphagia. Analyzing the frequency of dysphagia according to different diagnoses, we found a significant risk of postoperative dysphagia in patients with Graves’ disease and carcinoma. Patients operated on for hyperparathyroidism were at significantly decreased risk of dysphagia.
Conclusion: Nearly 20% of patients reported postoperative dysphagia after uncomplicated thyroidectomy and parathyroidectomy, especially after major surgical intervention. We found a significant risk of postoperative dysphagia in patients with Graves’ disease and carcinoma and a decreased risk for patients operated on for hyperparathyroidism.

Keywords: dysphagia, thyroidectomy, parathyroidectomy

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