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Minerva Chirurgica 2012 February;67(1):39-48


language: English

Robotic thyroid surgery using bilateral axillo-breast approach: personal initial experience over two years

Kim H. Y. 1, D’Ajello F. 2, Woo S. U. 1, Son G. S. 1, Lee J. B. 1, Bae J. W. 1

1 Department of Surgery, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea; 2 Department of Surgery, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy


AIM: Although endoscopic thyroid surgery is gaining wide acceptance, however, manual endoscopic operation also has shown several limitations. The advent of robotic surgical systems, such as the da Vinci surgical system (Intuitive Surgical, Mountain View, CA, USA), is expected to make it possible to overcome some limitations of manual endoscopic operation. Herein we report a single surgeon (H.Y.K.)’s initial two-year experience of new robotic thyroid operations using the bilateral axillo-breast approach (BABA), the approach which has definite advantages and recently has been widely used for the traditional endoscopic thyroid surgery.
METHODS: Between July 2008 and July 2010, 93 patients underwent robotic thyroid surgery using the BABA, with the da Vinci-S surgical system, at the Korea University Anam Hospital, Seoul, Korea. The data on the patients’ clinicopathological characteristics, operation types, operation times, surgical results, postoperative hospital stays and complications were collected in a prospective manner, and later evaluated.
RESULTS: Seventy-two total thyroidectomies with or without central neck dissections mostly for the papillary carcinomas, twenty lobectomies with or without central neck dissections for the minute ‑ smaller than 0.5 cm in their maximal diameter ‑ papillary carcinomas, follicular neoplasms and benign tumors, and a bilateral subtotal lobectomy for the multinodular goiter were performed robotically. There was no conversion of robotic procedure to traditional endoscopic or open procedure. The mean total operation time was 288.5±48.0 minutes. The mean number of retrieved lymph nodes by the central neck dissection was 5.1±1.97 (range, 0-12). The mean hospital stay of the patients was 2.8±1.2 days. And the mean postoperative 3rd month serum thyroglobulin level in patients undergone total thyroidectomy was 0.3±0.14 ng/mL (range, 0.08-1.95). Three (3.2%) patients suffered from transient hoarseness postoperatively, but all of them recovered in three months. Transient hypocalcemias were observed in 17 out of 72 (23.6%) patients who had undergone total thyroidectomy, but none of them left permanent. No other complication, such as bleeding, infection, neither fluid collection, was observed.
CONCLUSION: Our initial surgical results of robotic thyroid surgery using BABA demonstrate the feasibility and safety of the procedure in the treatment of benign tumors and early differentiated carcinomas.

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