Who performs thyroid surgery: a review of current otolaryngological practice

JD Ramsden, AP Johnson, HC Cocks, John Watkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)


Thyroid surgery has been traditionally a general surgical practice, but recently more otolaryngologists have been offering a thyroid service. We have quantified thyroid surgery performed by the different specialties, and looked more closely at the practice of otolaryngologists. Data was obtained from the Department of Health for UK thyroid surgery in all specialties for the year 1998-99 and validated against a survey of members of the British Association of Otolaryngologists-Head & Neck Surgeons (BAO-HNS). The use of investigations of a simple clinical case (solitary thyroid nodule) was compared with best practice. General surgeons still perform the majority of thyroid surgery (83%) but ENT surgeons now perform significant numbers (15.4% of all cases), which translates to 1499 cases per annum. A total of 102 BAO-HNS members were performing thyroid surgery with an average case-load of 19.1 per year. In total, 35% of ENT surgeons see thyroid patients in multidisciplinary clinics. The choice of investigation is consistent with European guidelines. ENT surgeons are doing significant amounts of thyroid surgery and the numbers appear to be increasing. The formation of multidisciplinary teams including general surgeons and otolaryngologists who are committed to subspecialization can only improve both training and treatment outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-9
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Otolaryngology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2002


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