source: The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Liu ZW, Masterson L, Fish B, Jani P, Chatterjee K
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease caused by the production of auto-antibodies against the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor, which stimulates follicular cell production of thyroid hormone. It is the commonest cause of hyperthyroidism and may cause considerable morbidity with increased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory adverse events. Five per cent of people with Graves’ disease develop moderate to severe Graves’ ophthalmopathy. Thyroid surgery for Graves’ disease commonly falls into one of three categories: 1) total thyroidectomy, which aims to achieve complete macroscopic removal of thyroid tissue; 2) bilateral subtotal thyroidectomy, in which bilateral thyroid remnants are left; and 3) unilateral total and contralateral subtotal thyroidectomy, or the Dunhill procedure.
Recent American Thyroid Association guidelines on treatment of Graves’ hyperthyroidism emphasised the role of surgery as one of the first-line treatments. Total thyroidectomy removes target tissue for the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibody. It controls hyperthyroidism at the cost of lifelong thyroxine replacement. Subtotal thyroidectomy leaves a thyroid remnant and may be less likely to lead to complications, however a higher rate of recurrent hyperthyroidism is expected and revision surgery would be challenging. The choice of the thyroidectomy technique is currently largely a matter of surgeon preference, and a systematic review of the evidence base is required to determine which option offers the best outcomes for patients.
Whipps Cross University Hospital, UK
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