Surgical Complications After Thyroid Surgery: A 10-Year Experience at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

  • Hadi A. Al-HakamiEmail author
  • Mohammed A. Al Garni
  • Moayyad Malas
  • Sultan Abughanim
  • Anas Alsuraihi
  • Thamer Al Raddadi
Original Article


To evaluate the incidence and predictive risk factors of complications in patients who underwent thyroid surgery at our hospital with a residency training program. This retrospective cohort study analyzed the complications in all patients who underwent thyroid surgery between January 2008 and December 2017. Demographic data, preoperative diagnosis based on fine needle aspiration cytology, surgical approach, permanent pathology, postoperative complications, and factors associated with complications were recorded. At our hospital, 456 patients underwent thyroidectomy. The most common surgical complications were asymptomatic biochemical hypocalcemia and symptomatic hypocalcemia in 109 (23.9%) and 50 (11%) patients, respectively. Other surgical complications included permanent hypocalcemia, transient vocal cord palsy, permanent vocal cord palsy, hematoma, seroma, chyle fistula, and Horner’s syndrome. Mean age > 45 years and more extensive surgery were significantly associated with overall complications (P = 0.003; < 0.001). Mean age > 50 years and vitamin D level < 25 nmol/L (< 10 ng/mL) were significantly associated with hypocalcemia (P = 0.008; < 0.001). Moreover, the extent of surgery and advanced thyroid carcinoma were significantly associated with vocal cord palsy (P < 0.001; 0.05). Hypocalcemia and vocal cord palsy are the most significant complications. Thyroid surgery can be performed safely by senior residents in the residency training program under the direct supervision of an experienced surgeon.


Thyroidectomy Surgical complications Thyroid carcinoma Hypocalcemia Vocal cord palsy Recurrent laryngeal nerve injury 


Author’s Contribution

Hadi A. Al-Hakami—Study design, manuscript review and fund raising. Mohammed A. Al Garni—Concept design and mansucript review. Moayyad Malas—Manuscript writting, literature survey and statistical analysis. Sultan Abughanim—Data collection. Anas Alsuraihi—Data collection and literature survey. Thamer Al Raddadi—Data and statistical analysis.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Authors have no conflict of interests, and the work was not supported or funded by any medical company.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from the participants with the option to withdraw them from the study at any time.


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Copyright information

© Association of Otolaryngologists of India 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgery, Section of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, King Abdullah International Medical Research CenterKing Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, King Abdulaziz Medical City, National Guard Health AffairsJeddahSaudi Arabia

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