, Volume 34, Issue 12, pp 2997-3006
Date: 11 Sep 2010

Invisible Scar Endoscopic Dorsal Approach Thyroidectomy: A Clinical Feasibility Study

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The aim of the present study was to test the safety and feasibility of the dorsal approach endoscopic thyroidectomy procedure in a prospective trial in humans, after the procedure had been developed ex vivo in human cadavers.


A total of 28 patients were enrolled for 30 unilateral procedures of thyroidectomy. Two cases were staged bilateral procedures. Patients presenting with suspicious cold nodules, hot nodules, or goiters were operated on under general anaesthesia. Skin incision is carried out on the scalp, behind the ear. Deep to the sternocleidomastoid muscle, but respecting the superficial cervical fascia, the preparation goes past the carotid triangle to reach the thyroid below the straight neck muscles. Postoperatively the patients underwent neurological assessment, vocal cord examination, clinical control for hemorrhage, and determination of serum levels of Ca2+.


Thirty unilateral procedures by the dorsal approach were carried out in 22 women and 6 men. There was 1 subtotal thyroidectomy and 29 total unilateral thyroidectomies with no conversions. There was one permanent recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) lesion and one postoperative hemorrhage. The size of the lobes removed ranged from 6 to 40 ml (mean: 18 ml). In four cases the specimen exceeded 38 ml. There was one multifocal papillary cancer requiring open surgical revision and lymphadenectomy. The other diagnoses were benign. All wounds healed by primary intention. Temporary impairment of cervical nerves was detected in six patients. It was possible to avoid access-related problems by improving the patient’s positioning on the operating table, omitting straight instruments, and respecting the superficial fascia before entering the carotid triangle.


Hemithyroidectomy by the dorsal approach is feasible. It is a single surgeon, single port, gasless unilateral endoscopic technique with the option to go bilateral.