Introduction: Swallowing difficulties, the pathophysiology behind which is incompletely understood, have been reported in 47–83% of goiter patients referred for thyroidectomy. We aimed at examining the influence of thyroid surgery on swallowing symptoms and esophageal motility. Methods: Thirty-three patients with benign nodular goiter undergoing thyroid surgery were included. All completed high-resolution esophageal manometry examinations and the goiter symptom scale score, assessed by the thyroid-specific patient-reported outcome measure. The evaluations were performed before and 6 months after surgery. Results: Before surgery, the goiter symptom score was median 39 points (range 2–61), which improved to median five points (range 1–52) after surgery (p OpenSPiltSPi 0.001). The motility parameters were within the limits of normal swallowing physiology, both before and after surgery. Only the upper esophageal sphincter (UES) pressure increased significantly from 70.6 ± 27.7 to 87.7 ± 43.2 mmHg after surgery (p = 0.04). Using regression analyses, there was no significant correlation between change in goiter symptoms and weight of the removed goiter, motility parameters, or motility disturbances. However, patients undergoing total thyroidectomy experienced a larger reduction in pressure in the area of the UES and former thyroid gland after surgery in comparison with patients undergoing less extensive surgery. Conclusions: Goiter symptoms improved significantly after thyroidectomy, but without correlation to esophageal motility disturbances. This information is essential when interpreting dysphagia in patients with nodular goiter, and when balancing patients’ expectations to surgical goiter therapy. Registration number:: NCT03100357 (www.clinicaltrials.org).

Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)998–1004
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Aged
  • Deglutition
  • Esophageal Motility Disorders/etiology
  • Esophageal Sphincter, Upper/physiopathology
  • Female
  • Goiter, Nodular/complications
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Period
  • Preoperative Period
  • Pressure
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Symptom Assessment
  • Thyroidectomy/methods


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