Objective: Minimal access surgery in the thyroid compartment has evolved considerably over the past 10 years and now takes many forms. We advocate at least two distinct approaches, depending on the disease process and multiple patient factors. The technical aspects are explored in depth with liberal use of videographic demonstration.
Methods: The authors conducted a comparison of two distinct surgical techniques with photographic and videographic documentation of two distinct minimal access approaches to the thyroid compartment termed minimally invasive thyroidectomy (MITh) and minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy (MIVAT). Both historic and previously unpublished data (age, gender, pathology, incision length, and complications) are systematically analyzed.
Results: Patients who underwent minimally invasive thyroidectomy (n = 31) had a mean age of 39.4 ± 10.7 years; seven were male and 24 were female. The most common diagnosis was follicular or Hürthle cell adenoma (29%), followed by papillary or follicular cancer (26%). The mean incision length was 4.9 ± 1.0 cm. One patient developed a hypertrophic scar and one patient developed thrombophlebitis of the anterior jugular vein. There were 14 patients in the MIVAT group with a mean age of 43.7 ± 11.4 years; one was male and 13 were female. The majority of patients had follicular adenoma (42.9%) or papillary carcinoma (21.4%) as their primary diagnosis. The mean incision length was 25 ± 4.3 mm (range, 20–30 mm), and there were no complications.
Conclusions: Two distinct approaches to minimal access thyroid surgery are now available. The choice of approach depends on a number of patient and disease factors. Careful patient selection will result in continued safe and satisfactory performance of minimally invasive thyroid surgery.