Characteristics of thyroidectomy in Taiwan

Shih Ming Huang, Chen Hsen Lee*, Fong Fu Chou, Koung Yi Liaw, Tain Chen Wu, Kuan Tien Chen, Yih Huei Uen, King Tong Mok, Shou Jen Kao, Tzu Ming Chang, Hurne Sheng Wu, Hwei Chung Wang, Pin Wen Lin, Yao Chi Liu, Shing Horng Huang, Ling Ming Tseng, Hon Mon Chen, Tsung Jen Huang, Tsen Long Yang, Yu Tai ChangTzu Chieh Chao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Thyroidectomy is a common treatment for thyroid disorders in Taiwan, and constitutes a significant percentage of medical expenses. This study investigated the characteristics of thyroidectomy in Taiwan. Methods: A total of 21 senior general surgeons from 16 medical centers and 5 regional hospitals participated. One surgeon from each hospital reviewed the hospital's medical records of thyroid operations performed in the year 2001. Medical records for 3846 thyroidectomies were retrospectively analyzed, including surgical indications and modalities, complications, pathology reports, and the use of antibiotics. Results: Most of the patients were women (85%). Indications for surgery included proven malignancy (9%), suspicious malignancy (30%), evident compression symptoms (20%), hyperthyroidism (20%), and cosmetic reasons (12%). The majority of patients (78%) underwent a surgical procedure with lobectomy or bilateral thyroidectomy; 13% had unilateral partial thyroidectomy. Prophylactic antibiotics were administered in 46% of procedures, and continued postoperatively in 12%. Postoperative complications occurred in 12% of patients. Hypocalcemia was the most common complication (8%), and its incidence was significantly correlated with the frequency of total thyroidectomy (p < 0.01). Complete pathology reports for the thyroidectomized specimens were available in only 65% of the cases. The frequency of cosmetic reasons for surgery, unilateral subtotal resection, routine antibiotic administration, and incomplete pathology reports were significantly higher in regional hospitals than in medical centers. Conclusions: Reduction in the high rates of cosmetic reasons for surgery, unilateral partial thyroidectomy, incomplete pathology reports, and use of antibiotic prophylaxis are needed to improve the quality of thyroidectomy in Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-11
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibiotics
  • Postoperative complications
  • Quality of health care
  • Retrospective studies
  • Thyroidectomy


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