The surgery, which has traditionally been an overnight hospital procedure, can be done safely in an outpatient setting, and in fact is preferable because it is less expensive, according to a new study. The scientific outcomes are published in the April issue of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

The study’s authors found not only were complications low, but conducting the procedure in an outpatient environment significantly lowered the cost by several thousand dollars.

The authors observed 91 patients undergoing thyroid surgery during an 11-month period. Of the 52 patients who had the procedure done on an outpatient basis, only two experienced complications, compared with one in the hospital setting. Furthermore, the average cost of outpatient surgery ($7,814, compared with $10,288 for an inpatient stay) indicates that outpatient surgery is a more cost-effective scenario.

The study’s authors stress that outpatient thyroid surgery should involve the careful selection of candidates based on medical history and desire to convalesce at home. They add that potential complications can be minimized by prescribing calcium supplements to prevent calcium deficiencies that can arise when the procedure involves thyroidectomy.

MEDICA.de; Source: American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (AAOHNS)