World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 601-606

First online:

Endoscopic Thyroidectomy Using a New Bilateral Axillo-Breast Approach

  • Jun-Ho ChoeAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital
  • , Seok Won KimAffiliated withNational Cancer Center
  • , Ki-Wook ChungAffiliated withNational Cancer Center
  • , Kyoung Sik ParkAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital
  • , Wonshik HanAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital
  • , Dong-Young NohAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital
  • , Seung Keun OhAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital
  • , Yeo-Kyu YounAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital Email author 

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Endoscopic techniques have recently been applied in thyroid surgery using cervical, axillary, and breast approaches. We modified the axillo-bilateral breast approach (ABBA) and developed the bilateral axillo-breast approach (BABA) to obtain optimal visualization for total thyroidectomy.


We used two 12-mm ports through bilateral circumareolar incisions for flexible videoscopy and Harmonic scalpel and two 5-mm ports through both axillae for graspers and dissectors. Thyroidectomy was performed under full visualization of the superior and inferior thyroidal arteries, parathyroid glands, and recurrent laryngeal nerves.


After performing 25 ABBA endoscopic thyroid surgeries, we developed BABA and performed 110 operations using this method. The BABA operations included 52 total thyroidectomies, 2 near-total thyroidectomies, 8 subtotal thyroidectomies, 43 lobectomies, and 3 subtotal lobectomies. Pathology revealed 41 benign lesions and 69 cancers. Mean operation time was 165.3 ± 43.5 minutes. There were 2 cases of conversion to open surgery, 1 due to cancer with capsular invasion and the other due to tracheal injury. Nine postoperative complications developed: transient unilateral vocal cord palsy in 4 cases, transient hypocalcemia in 4 cases, and postoperative infection in 1 case. The 2-month postoperative thyroglobulin level was less than 1 ng/ml in all examined cases of total thyroidectomy. Cosmetic results were excellent.


The BABA technique for endoscopic thyroid surgery is a feasible method of total thyroidectomy with a low rate of postoperative complications and, additionally, excellent cosmetic results. Therefore, in selected cases of thyroid cancer, the BABA endoscopic total thyroidectomy should be considered as a valid surgical option.