Robotic Thyroidectomy: Comparison of a Postauricular Facelift Approach with a Gasless Unilateral Axillary Approach

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Abstract

Objectives

Robotic thyroidectomy using remote access approaches has gained popularity with patients seeking to avoid neck scarring and enhanced cosmetic satisfaction. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy and advantages of a postauricular facelift approach vs a gasless unilateral axillary (GUA) approach in robotic thyroidectomy.

Study Design

Case series with chart review.

Setting

University tertiary care hospital.

Subjects and Methods

We retrospectively analyzed the data of 65 patients who underwent robotic thyroidectomy with or without central neck dissection using a GUA approach (45 patients) or a postauricular facelift approach (20 patients) between September 2013 and December 2014. We excluded patients who underwent simultaneous lateral neck dissection or completion thyroidectomy.

Results

Robotic procedures were completed without being converted to an open procedure in all patients. There were no significant differences in terms of patient and tumor characteristics, extent of thyroidectomy and central neck dissection, operative time, complications, and postoperative pain between the 2 approaches, except the higher female ratio in the GUA approach group (female ratio, 95.6% vs 75%, P = .042). Cosmetic satisfaction evaluated by a questionnaire was not significantly different between the 2 groups, and most patients of both groups (85.7%) were satisfied with postoperative cosmesis.

Conclusion

Both GUA and postauricular facelift approaches are feasible, with no significant adverse events in patients, and result in excellent cosmesis. However, a GUA approach seems to be superior when performing total thyroidectomy using a unilateral incision based on the preliminary result.

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