Purpose. Recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy and hypoparathyroidism are the most common and serious complications after thyroid operations. Surgeon experience has been defined as a significant factor in the number of complications occurring in thyroid surgery. There has so far been no prospective randomized study that compares the complication rates between residents and the attending surgeon in statistically similar patient groups in which all of the patients undergo the same type of thyroid surgery by the same surgical team. In this prospective study the performances of residents and attending surgeons were evaluated and compared according to the complication rates in near-total thyroidectomies.