Wide provider variation in cost for thyroidectomy: Potential benefits of standardizing practice?

Brendon Herring, Samuel Jang, A. L. Mayo, Courtney J. Balentine, Zviadi Aburjania, Herbert Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective(s): Identifying provider variation in surgical costs could control rising healthcare expenditure and deliver cost-effective care. While these efforts have mostly focused on complex and expensive operations, provider-level variation in costs of thyroidectomy has not been well examined. Methods: We retrospectively evaluated 921 consecutive total thyroidectomies performed by 14 surgeons at our institution between September 2011 and July 2016. Data were extracted from the Change Healthcare Performance Analytics Program. Results: Mean patient age was 47.4 ± 0.5 y, 81% were females, 64.7% were Caucasians, and 18.8% were outpatients. The number of thyroidectomies performed by the 14 surgeons ranged from 4 to 597 (mean = 66). The mean costs per provider varied widely from $4,293 to $15,529 (P < 0.001). The mean length of stay was 1d ±.03 with wide variation among providers (0-6 d). Providers whose hospital cost exceeded the institutional mean demonstrated significantly higher anesthesia fees and lab costs (P < 0.001). Conclusions: We found substantial variation in hospital cost among providers for thyroidectomy despite practicing in the same academic institution, with some surgeons spending 3x more for the same operation. Implementing institutional standards of practice could reduce variation and the costs of surgical care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Cost Effectiveness
  • Cost Variation
  • Endocrine Surgery
  • Provider Variation
  • Thyroidectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Wide provider variation in cost for thyroidectomy: Potential benefits of standardizing practice?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this