Pathology and the Surgical Management of Goitre in an Endemic Area Initiating Supplementary Iodine Nutrition

  • JCB Dakubo
  • SB Naaeder
  • Y Tettey
  • RK Gyasi
Keywords: Goitre, iodine deficiency, iodated salt, Endemic goitre, Thyroidectomy.


Goitre in the West African sub-region is caused by iodine deficiency and goitrogens in the diet. Supplementary iodine nutrition on a mass scale was started in Ghana in 1996. In areas where iodine deficiency have been corrected the histological pattern of goitre changes and this influences surgical decision making. Data on the histological types of goitre in our institution is lacking.
Objective: To define the histopathological types of goitre in this initial period of iodine supplementation and relate this to the types of thyroid surgeries that were performed.
Methods: It was a prospective study of consecutive patients who underwent thyroidectomy from January 2003-December 2007. Descriptive statistics was employed in analyzing the data
Results: Five hundred and twenty eight cases were studied made up of 470 (89%) females and 58 (11%) males with mean age of 41.98yrs, SD ±12.90yrs. The excised mean thyroid tissue weight was 161.4g, SD ±116.3yrs. Hyperplastic goitres were 373 (70.7%), toxic goitre 70 (13.3%), adenoma 37 (7.0%), carcinoma 25 (4.7%) and thyroiditis 23 (4.4%). Papillary carcinoma accounted for 56% (14) cancers. Subtotal thyroidectomy was performed in 278 (52.7%) of patients, near total thyroidectomy 107 (20.3%), lobectomy 98 (18.6%), total thyroidectomy 24 (4.5%), excision or completion thyroidectomy 20 (3.8%) and de-bulking 1 patient. Overall, complications occurred in 32 patients (6.1%) and were made up mostly of haemorrhage in 10 (1.9%), Hypocalcaemia 10 (1.9%), unilateralRecurrent Laryngeal Nerve(RLN) injury 3 (0.57%), Tracheal collapse 3 (.57%) and Bilateral RLN injury 2 (0.4%).
Conclusion: The introduction of iodine supplementationon a mass scale in Ghana is yet to have its fullest impact on thyroid diseases. Goitres are still large and cause pressure effects. Toxic, inflammatory and malignant goitres are gaining prominence, and surgery for malignant goitre was oncologically inadequate.Near total thyroidectomy is recommended as the minimum surgery to avert the need for completion thyroidectomies in view of the lack of preoperative pathological diagnosis of thyroid lesions.

Key words: Goitre, iodine deficiency, iodated salt, Endemic goitre, Thyroidectomy.


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eISSN: 0189-160X