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Endoscopic Lateral Approach Thyroid Lobectomy: Safe Evolution from Endoscopic Parathyroidectomy

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Endoscopic thyroid surgery has been shown to be feasible. Most minimal access procedures have been performed via a midline approach. Based on our experience of more than 500 endoscopic parathyroidectomies via a lateral approach we have used the same method for thyroid lobectomy.


We present our experience of endoscopic thyroid lobectomy via a lateral approach (ETLA) and review of the results over a 1-year period (2004). Inclusion criteria for ETLA were (1) solitary nodule with atypical/suspicious fine–needle biopsy (FNB) or solitary toxic nodule; (2) lesions with a diameter of <3 cm. Patients with a history of previous neck surgery or radiation exposure were excluded. All patients underwent postoperative vocal cord checks and plasma calcium evaluation.


A total of 742 thyroid procedures were performed during 2004. Among them, 38 patients (5.1%) underwent ETLA. Indications for surgery were suspicious FNB results (36 patients) and a toxic nodule (2 patients). Mean nodule size was 19.2 mm. Mean ± SD operating time was 102 ± 27 minutes. All recurrent laryngeal nerves were identified (including one that was nonrecurrent). Of the 38 patients, the superior parathyroid gland was identified in 36 and the inferior parathyroid gland in 33. There were two conversions due to difficulty with the dissection. Two operations were converted because malignancy was diagnosed on frozen section examination. Two patients underwent a delayed completion thyroidectomy when definitive histology necessitated it. There were no permanent operative complications, and all patients were discharged on the first postoperative day.


ETLA offers excellent intraoperative visualization of the vital structures and is a safe alternative to conventional thyroid lobectomy in selected cases.

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Correspondence to F. Sebag MD.

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Sebag, F., Palazzo, F., Harding, J. et al. Endoscopic Lateral Approach Thyroid Lobectomy: Safe Evolution from Endoscopic Parathyroidectomy. World J. Surg. 30, 802–805 (2006).

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