Contributions of the video-assisted approach to thyroid and parathyroid surgery

Acta Chir Belg. 2002 Oct;102(5):323-7; discussion 327-8. doi: 10.1080/00015458.2002.11679324.


Background: The authors report their initial experience with partial and total thyroidectomy, and neck exploration for hyperparathyroidism using the video-assisted approach.

Patients and methods: Between June 1999 and March 2001, 114 patients underwent a thyroid (n = 57) or parathyroid (n = 57) operation using a video-assisted cervical approach. Video-assisted neck exploration was conducted in all cases under general anaesthesia leading to a partial or total thyroidectomy, and to a selective adenoma removal in PHPT or to a subtotal parathyroid resection in SHPT.

Results: IN THE THYROID GROUP: The mean cranio-caudal and transversal diameter of the resected specimen were respectively 4.9 +/- 0.9 and 2.8 +/- 0.6 cm, and mean total lobar weight was 11.7 +/- 5.8 g. Conversion to conventional surgery was required in 5 patients (8.8%). The mean operative time was 133.9 +/- 26.9 and 86.5 +/- 22.5 minutes for total and partial thyroidectomy respectively. The laryngeal nerve was identified in 96% of cases. The mean length of skin incision was 24.0 +/- 2 mm. There were 3 cases of postoperative hypocalcemia, and 2 cases of postoperative hoarseness. The postoperative hospital stay was less than 24 hours for 72.7% of patients. The pain intensity at day one (VAS) was 2.1 +/- 1.3. IN THE PARATHYROID GROUP: Seven of the 44 patients who underwent PHPT (15.9%) and 4 of the 13 patients who underwent surgery for SHPT (30.8%) were converted to a conventional surgical technique. The mean operative time in PHPT and SHPT was 47.3 +/- 22.3 minutes and 136.8 +/- 18.7 minutes, respectively. Recurrent laryngeal nerve was identified in 53.1% of the patients. The median diameter and weight of the resected parathyroid glands were 1.5 cm (range 0.8-2.7) and 0.9 g (range 0.5-7), respectively. The length of skin incision was 24 +/- 2 mm. All but 2 patients are currently cured. Postoperative complications included hematoma and transient hoarseness each in one patient (1.75%). The median pain intensity at day one (VAS) was 0.5 (range: 0 to 3.6). In the PHPT group, the postoperative hospital stay was less than 24 hours for 56.7% of the patients, and less than 48 hours for 91.9% of them.

Conclusion: The video-assisted approach for thyroid and parathyroid surgery is feasible, safe and effective in selected cases. Benefits for the patients should be further assessed in future prospective comparative trials.

MeSH terms

  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Parathyroid Diseases / surgery
  • Parathyroidectomy* / methods
  • Thyroid Diseases / surgery
  • Thyroidectomy* / methods
  • Time Factors
  • Video-Assisted Surgery*