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Oncologic outcomes and surgical completeness of remote-access thyroidectomy: a systematic review and network meta-analysis.

BACKGROUND: The oncologic safety and surgical completeness of remote-access thyroidectomies are not yet clearly established. This study evaluates the oncologic outcomes and surgical completeness of three prevalent remote-access thyroidectomies: the gasless transaxillary approach (GTAA), bilateral axillo-breast approach (BABA), and transoral approach (TOA), in comparison with conventional transcervical thyroidectomy (CTT).

METHODS: Literature searches were conducted in PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library databases, covering the period from 2000 to 2023. Network meta-analyses were performed on selected studies, focusing on recurrence and surgical completeness. Surgical completeness was assessed using stimulated serum thyroglobulin levels and the count of retrieved lymph nodes.

RESULTS: The review included 48 studies, encompassing a total of 16,356 patients. The number of retrieved lymph nodes was comparable among BABA, TOA, and CTT, while GTAA might be less effective. Stimulated serum thyroglobulin levels showed no significant differences across the four groups. However, the proportion of patients with stimulated thyroglobulin levels below 1.0 ng/mL was significantly lower in GTAA compared to the other groups. The overall recurrence rates were 1.31% for CTT, 0.89% for GTAA, 0.62% for BABA, and 0% for TOA, with no significant differences in recurrence rates when adjusted for follow-up duration.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that the oncologic outcomes of GTAA, BABA, and TOA are comparable to those of CTT, based on recurrence rates. In terms of surgical completeness, BABA and TOA showed equivalence to CTT, whereas GTAA might be inferior to the other techniques.

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