Multinodular goiter is the most common indication for surgery in endemic iodine-deficiency regions. Ever since Theodor Koher proposed surgery for goiter about a century ago there has been a debate about the best surgical resection for the disease. Nowadays the paradigm shift in thyroid surgery away from Kocher’s principles of nodal enucleation or subtotal resection to extended thyroidectomy involving at least hemithyroidectomy (total unilateral lobectomy) is a well-accepted approach for the treatment of multinodular goiter disease. The transition time in surgical practice, in our country from subtotal to total resection offered us a unique opportunity to compare the ultrastructure of the thyroid gland in primary and redo-operation in patients with nodular goiter. The structural particularities of the thyroid gland in various normal and pathological conditions [
Material and methods
For the purpose of this study we used operative material from patients from 20 to 69 years of age with euthyroid nodular goiter. The material derived from two groups –from patients with primary operations (50 patients) and patients with reoperation (50 patients). The tissues were prepared in accordance to the protocols for light microscopy examination and they were stained with Hematoxilin eosin and Masson technique [
The results of our study showed that there are differences in the quantity and in the structure of the stroma of the thyroid gland before and after the operation. In the material from the first group we found that the stroma is represented by one or two rows of cells in the septum or in little group of cells in the space between the follicles. Examined under electron microscope the cells of the stroma had ultrastructural characteristics of fibroblasts - they had very well developed endoplasmic reticulum, Goldgy complex and a small number of vesicles and vacuoles. The proteoclican complexes were situated mainly in the territorial matrix (Fig. 1).
The examination of the material from the second group showed a significant thickening of the intrafollicular septum. We found an increase in the quantity of the cells and collagen bundles in the interfollicular space. The cells had smaller volume and less developed intracellular organs. The volume of the endoplasmic reticulum was decreased. The Goldgy complex was rarely found (Fig. 2). The formation of the collagen bundles is accompanied by the expansion of the cytoplasmic appendages of the fibroblasts. That is how they encircle an exact number of collagen filaments. There was a decrease in the number of proteoglycan complexes in the intracellular matrix. At the same time there was an increase in the capillary network of the stroma. In this group we found an increased number of fenestrated capillary. A great number of pinocitic vesicles in the luminal surface of the endothelial cells were detected. Pericytes were also observed.
Our studies showed that the connective tissue of the thyroid gland plays an important role in the formation of the tumors and in the processes of postoperative recovery of the gland. The changes in the connective tissue elements are more significant and occur earlier than in the epithelial cells [
The connective tissue of the thyroid gland reacts faster to the changes of the structure of the gland than the epithelial cells of the follicles. The main sign of the reaction is the intensification of the collagen production of the fibroblasts and the reduction of the proteoglycan complexes. These changes are pathological in nature and are the main cause for the decrease in thyroid function. This fact justifies a more extensive surgery.
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