Perspectives and lessons learned after a decade of minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy

ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec. 2008;70(5):282-6. doi: 10.1159/000149829. Epub 2008 Oct 30.


Minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy (MIVAT) was introduced in our department in 1998. The procedure is based on a unique incision in the central neck, 2 cm above the sternal notch, using small conventional retractors and 2-mm reusable instruments. Hemostasis is achieved by using a Harmonic scalpel. 1,320 (1,136 female and 184 male, ratio 4:1) patients have undergone MIVAT since June 1998. Lobectomy was carried out in 421 patients, while 899 patients underwent total thyroidectomy. In 21 cases (RET oncogene mutation carriers), MIVAT was associated with central compartment lymph node clearance. Mean operative time of lobectomy was 32.3 min (range 20-120 min); for total thyroidectomy it was 44.1 min (range 30-130). Mean time for video-assisted central compartment lymphadenectomy was 57 min. Conversion to standard cervicotomy was required in 30 cases (2.2%); operative complications included transient unilateral recurrent nerve palsy in 35 cases (2.65%) and definitive unilateral recurrent nerve palsy in 15 cases (1.13%). Thirty-eight patients exhibited hypoparathyroidism, which corresponds to 4.2% of total thyroidectomies performed, but only 2 showed permanent hypoparathyroidism. MIVAT can be considered a safe operation offering significant cosmetic advantages and has possible new promising indications such as prophylactic thyroidectomy in RET gene mutation carriers.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Dissection
  • Patient Selection
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thyroid Diseases / etiology
  • Thyroid Diseases / pathology
  • Thyroid Diseases / surgery*
  • Thyroidectomy / methods*
  • Video-Assisted Surgery*
  • Young Adult