Background: Traditional, trans-cervical thyroidectomy results in the presence of a neck scar, which has been shown to correlate with lower quality of life and lower patient satisfaction. Transoral thyroid surgery (TOTS) has been utilized as an alternative approach to avoid a cutaneous incision and scar by accessing the neck and thyroid through the oral cavity. This study was designed to evaluate patient preference through health-state utility scores for TOTS as compared to conventional trans-cervical thyroidectomy.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, patient preferences were elicited for TOTS and trans-cervical thyroidectomy with the use of an online survey. Respondents were asked to consider 4 hypothetical health scenarios involving thyroid surgery with varying approaches. Health-state utility scores were elicited using visual analog scale and standard gamble exercises.
Results: Overall, 516 respondents completed the survey, of whom 261 (50.6%) were included for analysis, with a mean age of 41.5 years (SD 14.9 years), including 171 (65.5%) females. Health utility scores were similar for TOTS and conventional transcervical techniques. Statistically significant differences in the standard gamble utility score were noted for gender and ethnicity across all scenarios. Comparisons of visual analog score utilities were not statistically significant based on respondent demographics.
Conclusion: Preferences for TOTS and trans-cervical thyroidectomy did not significantly differ in the current study. Females and white ethnicity indicated stronger preference for a TOTs approach compared to males and other ethnicities, respectively. Some literature suggests certain types of patients who might prefer minimally invasive thyroidectomy more so than other patients-in keeping with the current findings of this study.
Keywords: preference; standard gamble; thyroid; thyroidectomy; transoral; utility.