Minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy: reflections after more than 2400 cases performed

Surg Endosc. 2016 Jun;30(6):2489-95. doi: 10.1007/s00464-015-4503-4. Epub 2015 Sep 3.


Background: The minimally invasive video-assisted approach was developed for primary hyperparathyroidism in 1997 and the year after for thyroid disease. Since then, the technique has been adopted worldwide, and indications moved from the initial benign disease to low-risk and intermediate-risk carcinoma, demonstrating a level of oncologic radicality comparable to the conventional open approach when inclusion criteria are strictly respected.

Methods: Between 1998 and 2014, 2412 minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomies (MIVAT) were performed in our department. The indication for surgery in 825 patients (34.3 %) was a malignant tumor, in particular, a papillary carcinoma in 800 patients. Among them, 528 patients operated on between 2000 and 2009 had a mean complete follow-up of 7.5 (standard deviation, 2.3) years.

Results: A total thyroidectomy was performed in 1788 patients (74.1 %) and a hemithyroidectomy in 564 (23.4 %). Also performed was central compartment lymphadenectomy in 31 patients (1.3 %) and parathyroidectomy for the presence of a solitary parathyroid adenoma in 29 (1.2 %). Mean duration of the procedure was 41 (standard deviation, 14) minutes. After a mean follow-up of 7. 5 years, 528 patients who underwent MIVAT for low-risk or intermediate-risk papillary carcinoma presented a cure rate of 85 % (undetectable thyroglobulin), comparable with the 80 % rate reported in patients who had undergone open thyroidectomy during the same period.

Conclusions: After a long experience and a considerable number of procedures performed in a single center, MIVAT is confirmed as a safe operation, with a complication rate comparable with open thyroidectomy. MIVAT offers a cure rate for the treatment of low-risk and intermediate-risk malignancies that is comparable with an open procedure when inclusion criteria are strictly respected.

Keywords: Minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy (MIVAT); Thyroid carcinoma; Thyroidectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / surgery
  • Conversion to Open Surgery / statistics & numerical data
  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Thyroidectomy / methods*
  • Video-Assisted Surgery*