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Minimally invasive video-assisted surgery of the thyroid: a preliminary report

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Background: Endoscopic thyroidectomy has not yet met the favor of most endocrine surgeons. We evaluated the technical feasibility of a video-assisted approach to thyroid surgery. Patients and methods: The study group comprised 22 females and 5 males, all with a single thyroid nodule. The nodule was “hot” in 4 patients, microfollicular in 17 and with Hürthle cell cytology in 6. A 15-mm skin incision was made above the sternal notch. The mid-line was opened and a 12-mm trocar inserted into the thyro-tracheal groove. It was inflated with CO2 for 3 min. The trocar was then removed and the procedure performed using external retractors and needlescopic instruments. The upper pedicle was dissected. Identification of recurrent nerve and parathyroid glands was facilitated by endoscopic magnification. The upper gland portion was then retracted out of the operative cavity; inferior veins were ligated and the lobe entirely extracted and dissected. Frozen section was obtained for “cold” nodules. Results: Video-assisted hemithyroidectomy was accomplished in 24 patients; 1 underwent video-assisted total thyroidectomy (positive frozen section). Cervicotomy was required once to achieve hemostasis and once to perform total thyroidectomy (positive frozen section). Mean operative time was 82 min (range 60–120 min). No complications were registered. The cosmetic result was excellent. Conclusions: Video-assisted thyroid surgery is feasible and may improve cosmetic outcome; total thyroidectomy can be accomplished through the same access point.

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Miccoli, P., Berti, P., Bendinelli, C. et al. Minimally invasive video-assisted surgery of the thyroid: a preliminary report. Langenbeck's Arch Surg 385, 261–264 (2000).

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