Surgical management of pediatric Graves' disease: An effective definitive treatment

Elena Peroni, Maria Rachele Angiolini, Maria Cristina Vigone, Gilberto Mari, Giuseppe Chiumello, Edoardo Beretta, Giovanna Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose The optimal treatment for pediatric Graves' disease (GD) is controversial. Antithyroid drugs are often used initially, but they are associated with a high failure rate. Therefore alternative therapies have become important. In the present study, we analyze our institution's experience regarding the safety and efficacy of thyroid surgery among pediatric patients with GD. Methods This is a retrospective chart review of 27 pedi-atric patients (age ≤ 18 years) with GD who underwent thyroid surgery between 1991 and 2009 at a single academic Institution. We recorded preoperative, intraoperative, and short-term postoperative data. Results All 27 patients were initially treated with thi-onamides. The high rate of hyperthyroidism relapse after discontinuation of medical treatment, age <5 years, adverse reaction to medical therapy, severe ophthalmopathy, and patient preference justified the final decision to proceed with surgery as definitive therapy. All patients underwent total thyroidectomy. We had no mortality; surgical complications were rare: 4 (14.8 %) cases of transient hypocalcemia, 1 (3.7 %) of permanent hypocalcemia, 3 (11.1 %) of transient RLN neuropraxia, and 2 (7 %) of keloid scar. No bleeding, permanent RLN palsy or relapse hyperthyroidism were reported. Conclusions Surgical therapy for pediatric GD performed by experienced thyroid surgeons is a safe, definitive and cost-effective treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-614
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Surgery International
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Graves' disease
  • Radioactive iodine
  • Thyroidectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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