The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation published a new Clinical Practice Guideline yesterday on "Improving Voice Outcomes after Thyroid Surgery" to recognize the importance of the patient's voice and the potential impact thyroid surgery can have on it.
"Thyroid surgery rates have tripled over the last three decades," said Sujana S. Chandrasekhar, MD, guideline chair. "This new guideline will help educate physicians and patients of the importance of voice outcomes after thyroid surgery, steps that can be taken during surgery to preserve the voice, and available options for voice rehabilitation."
The first national, evidence-based guideline on improving voice outcomes after thyroid surgery, it was developed by a multi-disciplinary panel that included consumers, physicians specializing inotolaryngology-head and neck surgery, general surgery, endocrinology, internal medicine, family medicine, and anesthesiology, and representatives of speech-language pathology and nursing.
Research shows that temporary voice problems may occur in up to 80 percent of patients after thyroid surgery. An estimated 118,000 to 166,000 patients in the United States undergo thyroidectomy each year.The incidence of thyroid cancer continues to grow and affects three times more women than men.
The guideline's recommendations were developed to empower physicians and surgeons to optimize voice outcomes for adult patients undergoing thyroid surgery as well as to educate patients of the potential impact on their voices and to counsel those patients whose voice does change after surgery about rehabilitation options.