A retrospective review was performed to assess the surgical complications of thyroidectomy performed by otolaryngology residents under close supervision by faculty. One hundred eighty-six consecutive cases of thyroidectomy performed by the residents in the Department of Otolaryngology— Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Southern California were reviewed. Sixty-nine percent of thyroidectomies were performed for malignant or possible malignant diseases, and 31% were performed for benign conditions. Transient (less than 2 weeks in duration) hypocalcemia occurred in 26% of the patients; the vast majority of cases resolved within the first week. Five percent of the patients developed persistent hypocalcemia requiring prolonged replacement therapy. The incidence of unexpected postoperative permanent vocal cord paralysis was 0.9%. These complication rates are comparable to those in previously published large series on results of thyroidectomy. Thyroidectomy performed in an otolaryngology residency training program is a safe procedure when closely supervised by experienced faculty.
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