JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy for follicular neoplasm: is there an advantage over conventional thyroidectomy?

BACKGROUND: Minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy (MIVAT) is safe and effective for selected patients, but its advantages are not clearly defined. Results of MIVAT for follicular neoplasms at a single institution were retrospectively evaluated to define its advantages or disadvantages.

METHODS: Between October 2002 and May 2004, 22 patients underwent MIVAT. Twenty-six patients who underwent conventional thyroidectomy during the same time period served as matched controls. Operative times, pathologic findings, complications, analgesic requirements, and incision lengths were retrospectively evaluated.

RESULTS: Four MIVAT and three conventional surgery patients underwent total thyroidectomy. Eighteen MIVAT and 23 conventional patients underwent hemithyroidectomy. The operative time (mean +/- SEM) for hemithyroidectomy was 102 +/- 4 minutes for MIVAT and 86 +/- 3 minutes for conventional surgery (P < .05). In subgroup analysis that excluded patients with thyroiditis, operative times were not significantly different: MIVAT, 99 +/- 4 minutes; conventional, 88 +/- 4 minutes. The mean incision length was 2.3 +/- .5 cm in the MIVAT group. Conventional thyroidectomy was performed through a 4- to 5-cm incision. The average amount of narcotic used was not significantly different (intravenous, 9.9 +/- 3.1 mg [MIVAT] vs. 12.4 +/- 3.8 mg; oral, 10.3 +/- 4.2 mg [MIVAT] vs. 3.5 +/- 2.0 mg). The conventional group received more cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitor (527 +/- 9 mg vs. 187 +/- 84 mg; P < .05). One patient in each group experienced transient hoarseness. There were no cases of permanent hypoparathyroidism or recurrent laryngeal nerve injury in either group.

CONCLUSIONS: MIVAT is as safe and effective as conventional thyroidectomy and is associated with similar narcotic analgesic requirements, but it can be performed through smaller incisions. Operative times were significantly longer for MIVAT, but when patients with thyroiditis were excluded, operative times were not significantly different.

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