Two distinct, minimally invasive approaches to thyroidectomy could, with careful patient selection, result in improved cosmetic outcome without compromising the "safe," and satisfactory performance of such surgery, study results suggest.
The first technique is minimally invasive thyroidectomy (MITh), in which surgeons work through an incision of around 5cm in diameter – half the size normally required for the procedure. The second is minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy (MIVAT), in which video monitoring and a thin, ultrasonic scalpel halves incision size, say David Terris, from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, USA, and co-workers.
In addition, the online edition of the research article features an accompanying surgery video. Terris and team hope this video will be a good first step for physicians interested in adopting these methods.
In the journal Larynscope, the scientists detail the experiences of 31 patients who underwent MITh. These individuals were aged an average of 39 years, and seven were male. The average incision length recorded was 4.9 cm. One patient developed a hypertrophic scar and one patient developed thrombophelebitis of the anterior jugular vein.
A further 14 patients received MIVAT. These individuals were aged an average of 44 years, and one was male. The average incision length recorded was only 2.5 cm, and there were no complications.
Terris and fellow researchers conclude that both of the techniques "work well," and " have a place in a usual practice."
As well as providing an improved cosmetic result, minimally invasive approaches reduce surgical trauma and recovery time with most patients going home within a few hours of surgery, they add.
Regarding MIVAT in particular, Terris commented: "We don't even use stitches on the skin.
"We use a little bit of medical-grade glue."