Archives of Head and Neck Surgery
Archives of Head and Neck Surgery
Original Article Thyroid diseases and tumors

Thyroid cancer surgical indication during pregnancy: systematic literature review and series of illustrative cases

Lucas Albuquerque Chinelatto, Flávio Carneiro Hojaij, Dorival de Carlucci Jr, Claudio Roberto Cernea

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Introduction: Thyroid papillary carcinoma is the second most frequent type of cancer during pregnancy. Its diagnosis is related to patient fear and anxiety. There is little consensus on when to perform surgery in those cases. Objective: To evaluate and discuss timing possibilities for surgical treatment in thyroid cancer in pregnant women. Methods: Systematic literature review based on online search at the Literatura Latino-Americana e do Caribe em Ciências da Saúde (LILACS) and National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) databases. Retrospective analysis of thyroidectomies performed in the second trimester of pregnancy by the authors between 1999 and 2019. Results: The systematic review included nine articles. Their conclusions diverge with respect to the optimal timing of thyroid surgery. The medical literature considers thyroidectomy after safe delivery. The most recent studies are more flexible regarding carrying out this surgery during the second trimester of pregnancy. In the authors’ experience (n=5), surgical treatment during the second trimester of pregnancy is a good option for more aggressive tumors. Conclusion: More aggressive cases of thyroid papillary carcinoma can be treated with surgery during the second trimester of pregnancy. Performing the surgery after delivery is safer in the case of less aggressive cancer cases. The decision should consider hospital costs, surgery risks, and patient anxiety in relation to cancer.


thyroid cancer, papillary; thyroid nodule; pregnancy; thyroidectomy


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