JOURNAL ARTICLE
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[Minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy: establishment in a thyroid center].

BACKGROUND: This study retrospectively evaluated a series of patients who underwent minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy (MIVAT) during the introduction stage of this surgical technique at the Martha-Maria Hospital in Nuremberg.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The eligibility criteria for MIVAT were a thyroid volume < 25 ml, nodules < 30 mm, no thyroiditis, no preoperative evidence of carcinoma and no previous neck surgery. A retrospective evaluation was performed together with a control group of patients who underwent conventional thyroid surgery during the same time period and included a follow-up for general patient satisfaction and cosmetic results.

RESULTS: Between August 2008 and July 2009 a total of 55 patients underwent MIVAT including 8 conversions to open surgery and 45 patients who underwent conventional surgery served as matched controls. No significant differences in terms of perioperative complication rates were found (e.g. recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy, hypocalcemia or secondary hemorrhage). The mean operating time was significantly longer in the MIVAT group (96.8 ± 3.7 min vs. 69.8 ± 2.3 min, p = 0.001) whereas a significant decrease in the mean operating time for hemithyroidectomy after 5 months was observed (98.1 ± 3.77 min vs. 76.0 ± 4.98 min, p = 0.013). Patients in the MIVAT group were more satisfied with the cosmetic outcome (8.5 ± 0.3 vs. 8.2 ± 0.2, p = 0.05) as well as with the overall surgical procedure (9.0 ± 0.3 vs. 8.6 ± 0.2, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSION: During introduction of the MIVAT procedure a learning effect can be observed which is hallmarked by a decrease in operating time and conversion rate to open surgery. Moreover, no significant differences in terms of main postoperative complications were found so that MIVAT can be considered a safe and feasible technique under the conditions of correct eligibility criteria.

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