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Randomized clinical trial of bilateral subtotal thyroidectomy versus total thyroidectomy for Graves’ disease with a 5‐year follow‐up. BJS 2012; 99: 515-522.

Published: 27th January 2012

Authors: M. Barczyński, A. Konturek, A. Hubalewska‐Dydejczyk, F. Gołkowski, W. Nowak


The extent of thyroid resection in Graves' disease remains controversial. The aim of this study was to evaluate long‐term results of bilateral subtotal thyroidectomy (BST) compared with total thyroidectomy (TT) in patients with Graves' disease and mild active ophthalmopathy.


Participants were assigned randomly to BST or TT, and followed for 5 years after surgery. The primary endpoints of the study were the prevalence of recurrent hyperthyroidism and changes in Graves' ophthalmopathy. Secondary endpoints were postoperative transient and permanent paresis of the recurrent laryngeal nerve, and postoperative hypocalcaemia and hypoparathyroidism.


Two hundred patients were included, of whom 191 (BST 95, TT 96) completed the 5‐year follow‐up. Recurrent hyperthyroidism occurred in nine patients after BST and in none after TT (P = 0·002). Progression of Graves' ophthalmopathy was observed in nine patients after BST compared with seven following TT (P = 0·586). Transient hypoparathyroidism occurred in 13 and 24 patients respectively (P = 0·047). Permanent hypoparathyroidism was diagnosed in no patient after BST and in one after TT (P = 0·318). No differences were noted in transient or permanent recurrent laryngeal nerve injury.


TT for Graves' disease prevented recurrent hyperthyroidism but did not prevent the progression of ophthalmopathy compared with BST. Registration number: NCT01408368 (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov). Copyright © 2012 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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