BACKGROUND: In 1998, we developed a technique for video-assisted thyroidectomy (VAT). In this article we report on the entire series of patients who underwent VAT and discuss the results obtained. STUDY DESIGN: Forty-seven patients were selected for VAT. Eligibility criteria were: thyroid nodules of 35 mm or less in maximum diameter; estimated thyroid volume within normal range or slightly enlarged; small, low-risk papillary carcinomas; neither previous neck surgery nor irradiation; and no thyroiditis. After a learning period, VAT was proposed also for completion thyroidectomy (of previous video-assisted lobectomy) and nodules with maximum diameter up to 45 mm. The procedure is performed by a totally gasless video-assisted technique through a single 1.5- to 2.0-cm skin incision. Dissection is performed under endoscopic vision using a technique very similar to conventional operation. RESULTS: Fifty-three VATs were attempted on 47 patients. Thirty-three lobectomies, 10 total thyroidectomies, and 6 completion thyroidectomies were successfully performed. Six patients with papillary carcinoma underwent central neck lymph node removal by the same access. Mean operative time was 86.8 minutes for lobectomy, 116.0 minutes for total thyroidectomy, and 77.5 minutes for completion thyroidectomy. Conversion rate was 7.5%. Postoperative complications included one transient recurrent nerve palsy, three transient symptomatic postoperative hypocalcemias, and one wound infection. The cosmetic result was considered excellent by most of the patients who successfully underwent VAT. CONCLUSIONS: VAT is feasible and safe and allows for an excellent cosmetic result. Not all patients are eligible for this procedure, but in selected cases it can be a valid option for the surgical treatment of thyroid diseases.
- videoasisted thyroidectomy