Thyroid surgery can be done safely in an outpatient setting

Thyroid surgery, which has traditionally been an overnight hospital procedure, can be done safely in an outpatient setting, and in fact is preferable because it is less expensive, according to a new study published in the April issue of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

The study's authors found not only were complications low, but conducting the procedure in an outpatient environment significantly lowered the cost by several thousand dollars.

The authors observed 91 patients undergoing thyroid surgery during an 11-month period. Of the 52 patients who had the procedure done on an outpatient basis, only two experienced complications, compared with one in the hospital setting. Furthermore, the average cost of outpatient surgery ($7,814, compared with $10,288 for an inpatient stay) indicates that outpatient surgery is a more cost-effective scenario.

The study's authors stress that outpatient thyroid surgery should involve the careful selection of candidates based on medical history and desire to convalesce at home. They add that potential complications can be minimized by prescribing calcium supplements to prevent calcium deficiencies that can arise when the procedure involves thyroidectomy.

The Academy will observe the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation's Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week from April 16 through April 22, 2007, which is designed to both educate and increase public knowledge about oral, head, and neck cancers.

Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery is the official scientific journal of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS). The study's authors are David J. Terris, MD; Brent Moister, BA; Melanie W. Seybt, MD; Christine G. Gourin, MD; and Edward Chin, MD. They are associated with the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA.

About the AAO-HNS The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery ( ), one of the oldest medical associations in the nation, represents more than 12,000 physicians and allied health professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ears, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. The Academy serves its members by facilitating the advancement of the science and art of medicine related to otolaryngology and by representing the specialty in governmental and socioeconomic issues. The organization's mission: “Working for the Best Ear, Nose, and Throat Care.”


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