Background In the Netherlands, differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) is treated surgically in three different hospital types, including university, teaching, and non- teaching peripheral hospitals. This study evaluates postoperative complications and referral patterns in patients with DTC in the northern region of the Netherlands to gain an understanding on how to improve management implementation. Methods Data from 567 patients diagnosed between 1989 and 2009 were obtained from the Netherlands Cancer Registry and were supplemented with information from hospital digital information systems and patient records from 15 hospitals: 1 university, 3 teaching, and 11 peripheral hospitals. Surgically treated patients with a histologically proven DTC derived from the original pathology reports were included. Results Surgical treatment could be performed in a single procedure in 234 patients (41.3%), but several surgeries were needed in the remaining 333 patients (58.7%). Recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) palsy occurred after all types of thyroid surgical procedures, but mostly after initial (hemi)thyroidectomy and reoperations. RLN was temporary in 3.2% of the nerves at risk and persistent in 1.8%. Temporary hypocalcemia developed in 13.7% of patients, and persistent hypocalcemia occurred in 4.8%. Patients were mainly referred to the university hospital from a non-teaching (40.7%, 48/118) or teaching hospital (11.1%, 16/144); however, 80% of patients were not referred. Conclusions The complication rate and number of multiple surgeries support the efforts in optimizing clinical management in thyroid cancer. Careful considerations prior to initial surgical treatment by early discussion in telemedicine-based regional tumor boards could possibly prevent reoperations and potentially diminish complications.
- RISK PAPILLARY MICROCARCINOMA
- CENTRAL NECK DISSECTION
- ACTIVE SURVEILLANCE