Fractures after thyroidectomy in men: A population-based cohort study

Tu T. Nguyen, Hunter Heath, Sandra C. Bryant, W. Michael O'Fallon, L. Joseph Melton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Bone mass is purportedly reduced by an endogenous or exogenous excess of thyroid hormone or, perhaps, by calcitonin deficiency. Patients who have undergone thyroidectomy could be subject to all of these effects, yet their practical implications in terms of fracture risk are poorly defined. Interpretation is further hampered by the focus on women, where results may be influenced by involutional osteoporosis. Consequently, we assessed the potential for fractures among the 136 Rochester, Minnesota men who underwent thyroidectomy between 1935 and 1979, relative to a group of age-matched control men from the community. With 2194 person-years of follow-up in each group, survival free of any fracture of vertebra, proximal humerus, distal forearm, pelvis, or proximal femur was similar in the two groups (p = 0.23), and the relative risk of any of these fractures for thyroidectomized patients versus their controls was increased only 1.5-fold (95% CI, 0.7-3.2). The difference was entirely accounted fur by a statistically significant excess of proximal femur fractures in the men with thyroidectomy. Risk factors for fractures among men with thyroidectomy included greater age at surgery, greater extent of surgery, and the presence of risk factors for secondary osteoporosis. Thus, thyroidectomy, performed mainly for adenoma or goiter, seems to have little overall influence on the risk of age-related fractures in men. However, the association with hip fractures requires further evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1092-1099
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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