How radiologic/clinicopathologic features relate to compressive symptoms in benign thyroid disease

Bianca Siegel, Thomas J. Ow, Suzanne S. Abraham, Patricia A. Loftus, Andrew B. Tassler, Richard V. Smith, Bradley A. Schiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: To identify compressive symptomatology in a patient cohort with benign thyroid disease who underwent thyroidectomy. To determine radiographic/clinicopathologic features related to and predictive of a compressive outcome. Study Design: Retrospective cohort study. Methods: Medical records of 232 patients with benign thyroid disease on fine needle aspiration who underwent thyroidectomy from 2009 to 2012 at an academic medical center were reviewed. Data collection and analyses involved subjects' demographics, compressive symptoms, preoperative airway encroachment, intubation complications, specimen weight, and final pathologic diagnosis. Results: Subjects were ages 14 to 86 years (mean: 52.4 years). Ninety-six subjects (41.4%) reported compressive symptomatology of dysphagia (n =74; 32%), dyspnea (n = 39; 17%), and hoarseness (n = 24; 10%). Ninety-seven (42.2%) had preoperative airway encroachment. Dyspnea was significantly related to tracheal compression, tracheal deviation, and substernal extension. Dysphagia was related to tracheal compression and tracheal deviation. Compressive symptoms and preoperative airway encroachment were not related to intubation complications. Final pathologic diagnosis was not related to compressive symptoms, whereas specimen weight was significantly related to dyspnea and dysphagia. Final pathology revealed 74 subjects (32%) with malignant lesions. Malignant and benign nodular subject groups differed significantly in substernal extension, gland weight, tracheal deviation, and dyspnea. Logit modeling for dyspnea was significant for tracheal compression as a predictor for the likelihood of dyspnea. Conclusion: Dyspnea was closely related to preoperative airway encroachment and most indicative of a clinically relevant thyroid in our cohort with benign thyroid disease. Tracheal compression was found to have predictive value for the likelihood of a dyspneic outcome. Level of Evidence: 4. Laryngoscope, 127:993–997, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)993-997
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Benign thyroid disease
  • airway encroachment
  • compressive symptoms
  • dyspnea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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