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Transoral thyroid and parathyroid surgery--development of a new transoral technique.

Surgery 2011 July
BACKGROUND: Transluminal interventions via so-called natural orifices are gaining interest because they allow operative treatment without any skin incision. We previously described a transoral access for (para-)thyroid resection in pigs. To proceed with the first clinical trials, we evaluated the safety of the new technique.

METHODS: Transoral hemithyroidectomies were performed on 10 living pigs using a special cervicoscope and conventional laparoscopic instruments. Follow-up examinations were carried out for 14 days and followed by autopsy, which included macroscopic evaluation, microbiologic investigations, and blood testing. In addition, refinement of the new technique was achieved by developing the techniques in 10 human cadavers. Finally, transoral parathyroidectomies were performed in 2 patients with primary hyperparathyroidism and a preoperatively localized parathyroid adenoma.

RESULTS: All animal transoral hemithyroidectomies were performed without complications. Postoperatively, oral intake, weight gain, and white blood cell count remained normal. At autopsy, the access route, and operative field showed no signs of infection, and microbiologic swabs remained sterile. Based on these results, a transoral parathyroidectomy was performed successfully in 2 female patients with primary hyperparathyroidism; 1 patient experienced a transient palsy of the right hypoglossal nerve.

CONCLUSION: Transoral parathyroid and thyroid operation is feasible; however, additional controlled clinical studies are required to evaluate the safety and success rates of this new technique.

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