History of thyroid surgery
Aims: To review the history of thyroid disorders, emphasizing their surgical treatment and the contribution of surgeons involved in the improvement of thyroidectomy, a surgery that initially had high rates of complications and mortality.
Methods: A literature review was undertaken by searches in the PubMed and LILACS databases. Relevant articles on the history of thyroidectomy were selected.
Results: The historical evolution of thyroidectomy is similar to the evolution of surgery itself. Initially surrounded by superstitions and disastrous results, the surgery was improved by iconic surgeons such as Billroth, Kocher, and Halsted, having become an effective procedure. Owing to the high prevalence of thyroidectomy, medical centers of excellence gained extensive experience in this procedure, allowing for the development of major surgical clinics in the United States and in Europe.
Conclusions: Although the surgical treatment of thyroid diseases has been recognized since ancient times, only in the past 120 years has it become a safe procedure. The selflessness and courage of pioneering surgeons have allowed the understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the thyroid gland, making this surgery extremely safe and effective today.
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