Dysphagia following uncomplicated thyroidectomy: a systematic review

  • Francesca GalluzziEmail author
  • Werner Garavello
Review Article



Dysphagia after uncomplicated thyroidectomy is commonly reported and it includes a broad spectrum of swallowing complaints. Though various causes have been hypothesized, it remains not completely understood.


A systematic review was performed to identify studies concerning dysphagia post uncomplicated thyroid surgery. A qualitative analysis of data extracted was conducted.


We have included 16 studies of which 15 are prospective and one are retrospective. The number of subjects varied from 12 to 254, the mean age from 39 to 54 years with an overall prevalence of females. The duration of the follow-up ranges from 1 month to 4 years. All the included trials documented postoperative dysphagia, 12 of which have detected it in the early postoperative period. Considering long-term follow-up period, 12 studies reported an overall improvement of swallow symptoms. The instrumental findings revealed non-specific alterations of swallowing.


Dysphagia after uncomplicated thyroidectomy can arise early in the postoperative period resolving spontaneously in the first year. Diagnostic methods failed to identify the physio pathological mechanism of swallow alteration leaving this condition still unclear. Since these symptoms can reduce patient’s quality of life, we suggest an appropriate education before thyroid surgery.


Dysphagia Swallowing disorders Thyroidectomy Uncomplicated 



The authors did not receive any funding for this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OtorhinolaryngologySan Gerardo HospitalMonzaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Otorhinolaryngology, School of Medicine and SurgeryUniversity of Milano-BicoccaMonzaItaly

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