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Risks Associated With Thyroid Surgery in the Elderly Explored

Study finds thyroidectomy may be performed just as safely as in younger patients

FRIDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with more youthful patients, thyroid surgery presents few additional risks when performed in elderly patients, according to a study in the October issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Melanie W. Seybt, M.D., of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, and colleagues conducted a study of 86 patients aged 21 to 35 years and 44 patients aged 65 and older who underwent thyroidectomy. The researchers compared the outcomes and complication rates of the two groups.

The researchers found that neither cohort had any cases of death, hematoma or permanent true vocal fold paralysis, and both groups had similar rates of complications such as transient hypocalcemia and temporary true vocal fold paresis. However, the elderly patient group had a slightly higher readmission rate, but this was not statistically significant.

"The need to establish the safety of thyroidectomy in the geriatric population has become increasingly important as the population continues to age," the authors write. "Our experience confirms that geriatric thyroidectomy may be performed safely, with a minimally increased risk of complications."

One author of the article reported directing thyroid courses sponsored by Johnson & Johnson.

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