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Comparison between minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy and conventional thyroidectomy: a prospective randomized study.

Surgery 2001 December
BACKGROUND: Endoscopic procedures for thyroid surgery have been introduced since 1998, but their diffusion has remained limited because their advantages were never demonstrated.

METHODS: Forty-nine patients undergoing surgery for either a thyroid nodule or a small papillary carcinoma were allotted to 1 of these procedures, minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy (MIVAT) or conventional thyroidectomy (CT). Exclusion criteria were nodules greater than 35 mm, presence of thyroiditis, and thyroid volume greater than 20 mL. Preoperative diagnosis, operative time, postoperative pain, complications, and cosmetic result were evaluated.

RESULTS: MIVAT group included 25 patients and the CT group 24 patients. Operative time was 66 +/- 24 minutes for MIVAT and 45 +/- 15 minutes for CT (P = .001). Postoperative course was significantly less painful in the patients who underwent MIVAT (P = .003). Cosmetic result evaluated by verbal response scale and numeric scale was in favor of MIVAT (P = .003 and P = .01, respectively). One recurrent nerve palsy and 1 transient hypoparathyroidism were present in CT patients; MIVAT patients experienced 2 transient palsies.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite some MIVAT advantages in terms of postoperative pain and cosmesis, CT still offers an advantage in terms of operative time and its safety should not differ. Larger series of patients are needed before deciding whether endoscopic thyroidectomy can offer important advantages.

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