Thyroid surgery is safe for people aged 65 and above, shows a new study.
The study's researchers found only slight differences in rates of complications and hospital readmissions.
"We were pleasantly surprised," said Dr. Melanie W. Seybt, endocrine-head and neck surgeon at the Medical College of Georgia and first author in the ... issue of Archives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.
"We suspected older patients might be admitted to the hospital more often, have more complications and more cancer," Seybt added.
The analysis involving 44 patients over age 65 and 86 patients between ages 21-35 found similar complication rates, with 12.5 percent of older patients having transient problems with low calcium versus 11.1 percent of younger patients.
The thyroid growth was suspected to be malignant in 4.5 percent of elderly patients and 2.3 percent of younger patients.
The final pathology revealed cancer in 27.3 percent of elderly patients and 18.6 percent of older patients.
Sebyt hopes the findings will decrease concerns among patients and practitioners about the safety of thyroidectomies in the growing elderly population, noting that thorough preoperative screening, important at any age, likely helped minimize adverse reactions in their older patients.
"A lot of our older patients have other problems, such as heart failure, hypertension and restrictive lung disease, so we are very aggressive about getting medical clearance and optimizing control of their other problems," she added.