Long-Term Voice Outcomes After Robotic Thyroidectomy
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the long-term voice function after robotic thyroidectomy in comparison with conventional transcervical thyroidectomy.
We prospectively evaluated the voice functions of 54 patients with thyroid nodules who underwent robotic thyroidectomy by a gasless unilateral axillary or axillo-breast approach and of 70 patients who underwent conventional thyroidectomy. Subjective voice symptom score (VSS) was evaluated in questionnaires before thyroidectomy and then at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery. Objective acoustic parameters analyzed during the same period included fundamental frequency, jitter, shimmer, noise-to-harmonic ratio, highest frequency, frequency and intensity range, and maximal phonation time.
At 3 months after surgery, VSS was better in the robotic group than in the conventional group. At 2 years after surgery, VSS had recovered to the pre-operative level in the robotic group, whereas it remained significantly worse at 2 years in the conventional group. The phonatory frequency range and highest frequency were significantly wider and higher, respectively, in the robotic group than the conventional group at 6, 12, and 24 months post-operatively. Within the robotic group, the frequency range and highest frequency recovered to pre-operative levels by 6 months, whereas in the conventional group they remained below the pre-operative levels at 2 years post-operatively. There were no differences in other acoustic parameters between the two groups of patients at any period.
Up to 2 years post-operatively, robotic thyroidectomy has advantages in terms of recovery of voice symptoms and acoustic parameters over conventional thyroidectomy.
KeywordsThyroid Nodule Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve Vocal Fold Conventional Group Acoustic Parameter
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Chang Myeon Song, Bo Ram Yun, Yong Bae Ji, Eui Suk Sung, Kyung Rae Kim, and Kyung Tae have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.
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