Understanding Patient Perceptions of Thyroid Surgery Outcomes

Research Project Summary

Understanding Patient Perceptions of Thyroid Surgery Outcomes

Papillary Thyroid Cancer (PTC) is highly treatable with surgical intervention. However, Thyroid Surgery can result in voice changes, swallowing difficulties, or hypoparathyroidism, all of which adversely affect quality of life.

This study compared three different approaches to the surgical treatment of PTC and explored the patient experience of post-surgical recovery over time in over 80 patients.


The QHRC team was involved in this project from its inception, assisting with grant writing and study design. We developed all interview guides, wrote the IRB for patient interviews, and trained interviewers to perform one-hour open-ended interviews with patients at five time points.

Over the course of the five-year R01 grant, we collaborated with the PIs in developing a comprehensive code book, trained all coders in the use of NVivo, and performed coding oversight.

QHRC trained the research team in working with qualitative data, convened writing groups, and assisted in the write-up and publication of all study results based on the interview data.

“We had almost no experience with qualitative research and the QHRC team has really been phenomenal in helping us to understand the steps and to train our team to do the work necessary.”

Rebecca Sippel, MD, FACS

Client Team


Rebecca Sippel, MD, FACS
Chief Division of Endocrine Surgery School of Medicine and Public Health
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Nadine Connor, PhD, CCC-SLP
Professor – Department of Surgery
Division of Otolaryngology School of Medicine and Public Health
University of Wisconsin-Madison


National Cancer Institute


Papillary Thyroid Cancer: The Good and Bad of the “Good Cancer”
PubMed ID: 28510505

Comparison Between Patient-Perceived Voice Changes and Quantitative Voice Measures in the First Postoperative Year After Thyroidectomy: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial
PubMed ID: 2971020

What is the experience of our patients with transient hypoparathyroidism after total thyroidectomy?
PubMed ID: 32654859

Patient-Reported Dysphagia After Thyroidectomy: A Qualitative Study
PubMed ID: 29522149

A Qualitative Analysis of the Preoperative Needs of Patients With Papillary Thyroid Cancer
PubMed ID: 31306889

Overview of Qualitative Research Performed

Official Project Title

Central Neck Dissection in Patients with Clinical Node Negative Thyroid Cancer


  • Grant Writing
  • Research Design
  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis
  • Writing Support


  • Semi-structured Interviews
  • Grounded Theory
  • Conventional Content Analysis

Research Area

  • Clinical Trials
  • Academic Research