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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Original research article

Expectantly waiting: a survey of thyroid surgery wait times among Canadian Otolaryngologists

Maria Brake1, Paige Moore1, S Mark Taylor1, Jonathan Trites1, Scott Murray1 and Rob Hart2*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

2 Room 826, Victoria Building, QEII Health Sciences Centre, 1278 Tower Road, Halifax, NS B3H-2Y9, Canada

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Journal of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery 2013, 42:47  doi:10.1186/1916-0216-42-47

Published: 11 September 2013



Our objective is to highlight discrepancies between actual wait times and perceived appropriate wait times for various thyroid pathologies among Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgeons in Canada; and to identify specific diagnoses/pathologies where wait times could be improved.


A questionnaire was distributed to all practicing CSO-HNS members. Questions focused on actual wait times for initial consults and surgery within individual practices, in the setting of various thyroid pathologies. Respondents were also asked to state wait times that they felt were appropriate for each scenario. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were performed to determine statistically significant differences between actual and appropriate wait times.


For most scenarios, the actual wait times were significantly longer than most physicians felt were appropriate; these scenarios included time to initial consult for undiagnosed nodules, time to surgery for confirmed malignancies, and time to completion thyroidectomy for surgically confirmed malignancies.


Wait times for thyroid consults and surgeries in Canada are longer than physicians feel are appropriate. The authors hope that this survey may spur a move towards a national consensus on appropriate wait times for the treatment of thyroid pathology.

Thyroid nodule; Thyroid cancer; Wait times; Thyroidectomy; Otolaryngology referral