Background: Transoral endoscopic thyroid surgery vestibular approach (TOETVA) is a promising technique involving no skin incision. Since its first use in 60 patients in 2015, TOETVA has been adopted by several hospitals worldwide. However, reports of TOETVA for thyroid cancer are scarce.
Methods: Between August 2016 and March 2019, 150 and 125 thyroid cancer patients underwent TOETVA and open thyroidectomy (OT), respectively, by a single endocrine surgeon. Comparative analyses were performed on clinical and pathological findings, complications, and surgical completeness in total thyroidectomy cases, as indicated by the serum thyroglobulin (Tg) level. Data were collected prospectively and analyzed retrospectively.
Results: Mean age was younger in the TOETVA than in the OT group (43.06 ± 10.90 vs. 51.02 ± 12.42). The percentage of females was 96.7% in the TOETVA group. Total thyroidectomy was higher in the OT group (26.7% vs. 65.0%). Operation time (min) was longer in the TOETVA group for lobectomy (102.12 ± 32.59 vs. 76.38 ± 21.24) and total thyroidectomy (132.65 ± 34.79 vs. 90.71 ± 25.09). The largest tumor diameter was 0.91 (± 1.00) in the TOETVA group and 1.19 (± 1.07) in the OT group. The harvested lymph node number was not significantly different between the two groups for lobectomy (3.19 ± 2.89 vs. 3.49 ± 2.41, p = 0.319) and total thyroidectomy (4.98 ± 3.12 vs. 5.70 ± 4.35, p = 0.714). The thyroid-stimulating hormone stimulated Tg level before administration of the first dose of radioactive iodine was also not different (3.38 ± 10.87 vs. 3.44 ± 11.51, p = 0.595). Percentage of stimulated Tg below 1.0 ng/ml was 80.0% in the TOETVA group.
Conclusions: TOETVA is feasible in selected thyroid cancer patients, not only because it is cosmetically advantageous but also because it is oncologically safe. A large prospective cohort study including recurrence surveillance is needed to consolidate the feasibility of TOETVA.
Keywords: Endoscopic thyroid surgery; Minimally invasive thyroid surgery; Remote access thyroid surgery; Stimulated thyroglobulin; Thyroid cancer; Transoral thyroidectomy.