Published: 2021-08-23

A case-control study on thyroid surgery in geriatric patients

Rita Gama, Mónica Teixeira, Pedro Oliveira, Fernanda Castro, Artur Condé


Background: With the progressive aging of the population, thyroid pathology with surgical indication occurs at increasingly advanced ages. The authors aim was to analyze the forms of presentation of thyroid disease and rate of complications of thyroid surgery performed in geriatric patients and to compare it to the same parameters in younger patients.

Methods: This was a 7 year retrospective case-control study, with patients who underwent thyroid surgery. The study group included patients above 65 years old and a control group under 65 years old, who underwent thyroidectomy.

Results: A total of 81 patients were included. The mean volume of thyroid nodules at presentation was significantly higher in the study group compared to the control group, regarding the disease presentation, it was an accidental imaging finding in 59% of patients of the study group, while in the control group there were more compressive symptoms at presentation. The rate of postoperative complications in geriatric patients was 29% versus 20% in the control group, a difference that was not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Given the high number of comorbidities presented by geriatric patients, the symptoms of thyroid disease can be undervalued, explaining the greater number of accidental imaging findings and the greater volume of nodules at the time of surgery. Our results show that geriatric thyroid surgery is safe and has acceptable postoperative morbidity. The detection of thyroid pathology in these patients is a greater challenge, which can obscure symptoms, delay diagnosis and worsen prognosis.


Thyroid, Tyroidectomy, Aged, Elderly, Postoperative complications

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