European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 276, Issue 1, pp 217–222 | Cite as

Pediatric thyroid surgery: experience in 75 consecutive thyroidectomies

  • Ali AlkharsEmail author
  • Moumainn Abouzayd
  • Charles-Edouard Rouf
  • Hubert Lardy
  • David Bakhos
  • Soizick Pondaven-Letourmy
  • Sylvain Moriniere
  • Emmanuel Lescanne
Head & Neck



The main objective of this study is to report our experience in a university hospital in the surgical management of thyroid disease in pediatric patients. We also aim to analyze the results and evaluate the efficacy of fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) and frozen section analysis.


A retrospective review of thyroid surgeries from January 1997 to December 2017 was conducted. Patients aged under 18 who underwent total or partial thyroidectomy were included. The indication of the surgery, the investigation results, the surgical technique used and the final diagnosis were reviewed and analyzed.


A total of 75 patients were included. 80% (n = 60) were females and 20% (n =  15) were males. The average age was 13.3 years ± 3.76 and age range was 3–18 years. The indication for thyroidectomy was thyroid nodule in 80% (n = 60), Grave’s disease in 13.3% (n = 10), multiple endocrine neoplasm type II (MEN II) in 6.7% (n. 5). FNAB was done in 42.7% (n = 32/75) with sensitivity and specificity of 62.50% and 94.4%, respectively, the positive predictive value was 83.3% and the negative predictive value was 85%. Frozen section, which is a quick intraoperative micro and/or macroscopic examination, was done in 66.7% (n = 50/75). It was malignant in 12% (n = 6/50) and was benign in 88% (n = 44/50). Among benign results, nine (n = 9/44) patients had malignant disease in final pathological diagnosis. Its sensitivity and specificity were 40% and 100%, respectively, the positive predictive value and the negative predictive value were 100% and 79.6%, respectively. Total thyroidectomy was done in 54.7% (n = 41/75) and partial thyroidectomy was done in 45.3% (n = 34/75). Of the 75 patients, 29.3% (n = 22) had thyroid carcinoma on final pathological analysis.


Thyroid diseases that require surgical intervention are rare in pediatric populations. However, when surgery is indicated, there is higher risk of malignancy compared to adults. Our study showed that FNAB has a lower specificity and sensitivity compared to adults, and that surgical decision should be made considering all investigations. We also showed that frozen section is considered primarily for papillary thyroid carcinoma but is not reliable for follicular carcinoma or Bethesda IV. Finally, thyroid surgery in children and adolescents must be part of global multidisciplinary management.


Thyroidectomy Child Thyroid nodule Differentiated thyroid cancer Fine-needle aspiration biopsy Frozen section 



This study was not funded by any institution or any organization.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest concerning this article.

Research involving human participants and/ or animals

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study formal consent is not required.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Services d’ORL et Chirurgie Cervico Faciale & ORL pédiatrique, CHRU de TOURSUniversité de TOURSTours cedex 9France
  2. 2.Service de Chirurgie Pédiatrique Viscérale et Plastique, CHRU de TOURSUniversité de TOURSTours cedex 9France

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