Childhood cancer survivors (CCS) are at increased risk for thyroid disease, and many require definitive management with thyroid surgery. Despite this, there is limited evidence on surgical outcomes among CCS. We sought to evaluate postoperative outcomes at our institution among CCS undergoing thyroid surgery compared to patients without a history of primary childhood malignancy.
Medical records were reviewed for 638 patients treated at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Pediatric Thyroid Center between 2009 and 2020. Rates of surgical complications, including recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) paralysis and hypoparathyroidism, among CCS were compared to patients with sporadic/familial thyroid cancer, Graves’ disease, and other benign thyroid conditions. Operative time and intraoperative parathyroid hormone levels were also evaluated.
There were no significant differences in long-term surgical complication rates, such as permanent RLN paralysis and hypoparathyroidism, between CCS and patients without a history of primary childhood malignancy (all p > .05). For all surgical outcomes, there were no significant differences in complication rates when CCS were compared to those undergoing surgery for sporadic/familial thyroid cancer or Graves’ disease (all p > .05). CCS with benign final pathology had significantly higher rates of transient hypoparathyroidism compared to patients with benign thyroid conditions (p < .001).
Our study suggests that CCS are not at higher risk of long-term complications from thyroid surgery when treated by high-volume surgeons within a multidisciplinary team.

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