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To report the results of thyroid surgery in a University department of ENT – head and neck surgery, and to evaluate the benefits of the use of the surgical microscope in thyroid surgery.
A retrospective evaluation of the records of all patients who underwent thyroid surgery in the 10-year period 1987–1996.
In addition to standard surgical principles the Zeiss multi-discipline universal surgical microscope with a 250 mm ocular lens was used in all cases. Total thyroidectomy was performed in all malignant cases, while unilateral lobectomy plus isthmus resection was the standard procedure in benign cases.
There were 573 patients, aged 11–87 years, 444 females and 129 males. Four hundred and fifty-one had benign lesions, 122 malignant. Four hundred and eighty-nine had primary surgery, 84 underwent completion surgery or surgery for recurrent disease.
Primary thyroid gland surgery in benign/malignant disease resulted in permanent recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy in 0.6 per cent/3.5 per cent of the patients respectively, when calculated as nerves at risk (NAR). In benign recurrent or malignant completion surgery this complication rate was 4.5 per cent/2.9 per cent respectively.
Thyroid surgery in our University ENT – Head and Neck Department with the use of the surgical microscope provides pleasing results, especially considering the diversity of surgeons, due to the departments' teaching responsibilities.
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