Onset of hypothyroidism after total laryngectomy: Effects of thyroid gland surgery and preoperative and postoperative radiotherapy

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Background: To determine time of onset and risk of hypothyroidism after total laryngectomy (TL) with and without (hemi)thyroidectomy in relation to treatment regimen, that is, preoperative radiotherapy (RT-TL), postoperative radiotherapy (TL-RT), and postoperative re-irradiation (RT-TL-RT). Methods: Retrospective review of 128 patients treated by RT-TL (51 patients), TL-RT (55 patients), and RT-TL-RT (22 patients). Risk of hypothyroidism was determined by multivariable Cox regression analysis and euthyroid survival was calculated using Kaplan-Meier method. Results: Hypothyroidism developed in 69 (54%) patients. The median onset of hypothyroidism was later (P <.01) and the risk of hypothyroidism was lower (hazard ratio 0.49; P =.014) in the TL-RT group compared to both other treatment regimens. Euthyroid survival did not differ between the treatment regimens. Two years euthyroid survival was 24% with and 61% without (hemi)thyroidectomy (P <.001). Conclusions: Patients treated with TL-RT have later onset of hypothyroidism. Higher risk for hypothyroidism is associated with salvage TL after radiotherapy and (hemi)thyroidectomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-644
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Sciences and Specialties of the Head and Neck
Issue number4
Early online date13-Dec-2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2020


  • hemithyroidectomy
  • hypothyroidism
  • radiotherapy
  • total laryngectomy

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