THE USE of an operative procedure to control disease in a given area of the body may be dependent upon the morbidity and mortality associated with such a procedure. It has been stated,3 "In some of our large teaching hospitals a thyroidectomy has become a rare procedure." The statement is undoubtedly true relative to toxic goiter, but we doubt that it holds for other thyroid diseases. During the past year there have been articles published in the surgical literature in which the rate of complications, as particularly related to recurrent laryngeal nerve injury and permanent hypoparathyroidism, seems to be unusually high.1,2, 4,7,8 It is because of these reports that a study of all thyroid surgery, carried out over a five-year period in a large hospital center, was undertaken.
During the period March 10, 1958, through Dec 31, 1963, 1,002 patients underwent thyroid surgery at the Washington Hospital