Classifying pain in transoral endoscopic thyroidectomy

J Endocrinol Invest. 2019 Nov;42(11):1345-1351. doi: 10.1007/s40618-019-01071-0. Epub 2019 Jun 11.


Purposes: Knowledge of visual analog scale (VAS) pain assessment for transoral endoscopic thyroidectomy vestibular approach (TOETVA) is limited. The purpose of this analysis was to classify the postoperative discomfort scores in patients undergoing TOETVA compared to open thyroidectomy.

Methods: Observational clinical study of patients who underwent thyroidectomy by VAS pain assessment from September 2016 to March 2017. Patients were stratified into two groups: patients eligible for TOETVA (Group TOETVA) and non-candidates for endoscopic intervention (open thyroidectomy approach-OTA). VAS was recorded in the recovery room, at 24 h, + 2, + 5, + 15, + 30, + 90 days, and 6 months after surgery. Pain assessment was stratified in VAS-lower lip, VAS-chin, VAS-jaw, VAS-anterior neck, VAS-cervical/back, VAS-swallowing, VAS-brushing, VAS-speaking, and VAS-shaving. Secondary outcome assessed were analgesic rescue dose, morbidity, operative notes, hospital stay, and histopathology.

Results: 41 TOETVA and 45 OTA constituted the analysis. There were differences between the TOETVA and OTA for age, gland volume, mean nodule diameter, coexistence thyroiditis, bilateral procedures, and use of drain. Operative time was longer in TOETVA. Results indicated that TOETVA was associated with reduced neck, cervical back, and swallowing VAS scores in the 24 h after surgery. Conversely, jaw and brushing teeth resulted in higher VAS score in TOETVA group. OTA patients never experienced lower lip or chin pain. The use of rescue analgesics did not differ between the two groups.

Conclusions: VAS was used to measure treatment outcome in TOETVA. VAS scores achieved overall a minimal clinical importance difference from the two procedures. There appears to be both a short- and long-term different range of interpretations of pain between TOETVA and OTA.

Keywords: Analgesia; Postoperative pain management; TOETVA; Thyroid surgery; VAS.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth / pathology
  • Mouth / surgery*
  • Natural Orifice Endoscopic Surgery / adverse effects*
  • Pain / classification*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / pathology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thyroid Diseases / pathology
  • Thyroid Diseases / surgery*
  • Thyroidectomy / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult