What are potential major complications from thyroid surgery?

Updated: Jan 25, 2018
  • Author: Pramod K Sharma, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Answer

By developing a thorough understanding of thyroid anatomy and of the ways to prevent each complication, the surgeon can minimize each patient's risk. Potential major complications of thyroid surgery include bleeding, injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve (see the first image below), hypoparathyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyrotoxic storm, injury to the superior laryngeal nerve (see the second image below), and infection.

Anatomy of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN). Anatomy of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN).
Superior laryngeal nerve (SLN). Superior laryngeal nerve (SLN).

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