Delaying surgery for thyroid cancer in pregnancy: A case report

Rita W. Driggers, Jerome N. Kopelman, Andrew J. Satin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Management of thyroid cancer in pregnancy is controversial, as evidenced by disagreement in recommendations cited in leading obstetrics textbooks. Most thyroid carcinomas are well differentiated and pursue an indolent course. Many physicians recommend delay in surgical therapy until after delivery because of operative morbidity. CASE: A 27-year-old primigravida was found to have a solitary thyroid nodule at her initial obstetrics appointment. Fine needle aspiration was consistent with papillary carcinoma. Although detected at 8 weeks' estimated gestational age (EGA), the decision was made to defer surgical therapy until postpartum. The patient was referred to a tertiary care facility at 24 weeks' EGA secondary to rapid growth of the nodule. Surgery performed at that time revealed invasive disease. CONCLUSION: Review of the literature suggests that delay in definitive therapy stems from early reports of fetal loss related to surgery, but contemporary data suggest that the risk of fetal loss related to surgery is minimal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-912
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine for the Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Fetal death
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Thyroid neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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