Background: After open thyroidectomy, patients usually complain of voice, sensory, and swallowing symptoms. We approached the thyroid via the subfascial method to reduce these symptoms and compared postthyroidectomy symptoms with the conventional subplatysmal method. Methods: Eighty-six patients undergoing thyroidectomy were recruited and randomized into either a conventional subplatysmal approach group (subplatysmal, 42 patients) group or a subanterior fascia of strap muscle approach group (subfascial, 44 patients). Voice symptoms were assessed using the Voice Handicap Index questionnaire and acoustic voice analysis. Sensory alterations were evaluated by the light touch and pain touch methods. Swallowing symptoms were assessed using the Swallowing Impairment Score (SIS) questionnaire, barium swallowing time, and hyoid bone movement range. Each variable was measured preoperatively, and at 2 weeks and 3 months after thyroidectomy. Results: In both groups, the subjective symptoms of voice, sensation, and swallowing were significantly worsened at 2 weeks after operation, but improved 3 months after operation. Patients in the subplatysmal group had worse SIS scores than patients in the subfascial group (p = 0.016) and delayed barium swallowing time 2 weeks after operation (p = 0.008 compared to preoperative level). In the cohort over 50 years of age, SIS score did not recover to preoperative levels in the subplatysmal group 3 months after operation (p = 0.005 compared to preoperative level). Conclusions: The subfascial approach may be an effective method for reducing postthyroidectomy swallowing symptoms based on swallowing impairment score, especially in patients over 50 years of age.
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