• The use of postoperative radioiodine thyroid scanning has questioned whether total thyroidectomy is surgically possible. Similar to earlier studies, we have found functioning iodine 131 (131l)—avid thyroid tissue in our patients following total thyroidectomy for thyroid cancer. Preoperative and postoperative thyroid scans were compared in 24 patients to study the cervical location of postthyroidectomy residual thyroid tissue. Thyroid scanning detected 44 distinct sites of uptake. Thirty-eight of these foci were located either at the extremes of the upper poles of the thyroid gland (24) or along the embryonic thyroid descent tract (14). We conclude that these foci of 131l uptake represent incomplete resection of normal thyroid tissue, and that surgical attention to these areas should result more frequently in extirpation of the entire thyroid gland.
(Arch Surg 1983;118:864-867)