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01.09.2009 | Original Article | Ausgabe 5/2009

Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery 5/2009

How to perform a thyroidectomy in an outpatient setting

Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery > Ausgabe 5/2009
Axèle Champault, Corinne Vons, Sonia Zilberman, Thierry Labaille, Solen Brosseau, Dominique Franco



In France, the current practice for postoperative care of thyroidectomy is still inpatient care. No series of outpatient thyroidectomy has been reported. The aim of this work was to assess the acceptability, feasibility, and safety of outpatient unilateral thyroid lobectomy in a university hospital.

Materials and methods

The procedure was proposed to patients presenting with nodule(s) in one lobe of the thyroid and fulfilling predetermined inclusion criteria. The surgical protocol included no drainage and, progressively, no dressing. Standard anesthetic, analgesic, and antiemetic protocols were used. Unplanned admission, complication, and re-operation rates were evaluated.


Among 153 unilateral thyroid lobectomies performed, 95 (62%) were planned for outpatient surgery. The proportion of outpatient unilateral thyroid lobectomies increased during an 8-year period from 36% to 90%. One patient was re-operated because local hemorrhage was diagnosed in the recovery room. He was discharge the next day. Eighteen patients (13.7%) were admitted because of nausea (n = 6), dizziness, and physical discomfort mostly due to anxiety (n = 5). Seventy-seven patients were discharged as planned 6 to 8 h after the operation. No patient was readmitted.


Outpatient unilateral thyroid lobectomy is feasible and safe in the setting of appropriate facilities and management protocol. Strict control of postoperative nausea is essential, and a preoperative education for ambulatory surgery is useful to minimize patient anxiety and increase acceptability.

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