A randomized controlled trial of minimally invasive thyroidectomy using the lateral direct approach versus conventional hemithyroidectomy

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Abstract

Background

The role of minimally invasive thyroid surgery (MITS) is currently in evolution. The aim of this study is to compare the outcomes of MITS using the direct approach through a lateral incision with conventional hemithyroidectomy (CHT) for the management of atypical thyroid nodules.

Methods

A prospective, single-blinded, randomized controlled trial involving patients presenting with atypical thyroid nodules of 3-cm diameter or less was performed. Patients were randomized to MITS through a lateral 2.5-cm incision or CHT through a traditional 5- to 6-cm cervicotomy. Pain was measured using a 7-point visual analog scale on the 1st and 10th postoperative days. Serum C-reactive protein was measured on postoperative days 1 and 10. Satisfaction with cosmetic outcome was measured at 3 months.

Results

One-hundred patients were randomized to undergo MITS or CHT. The 2 groups were equivalent in terms of age and thyroid nodule size. Mean operative times were longer for the MITS group (56 vs 46 min, P < .001). Mean pain scores were less in the MITS group on the 1st postoperative day (2.67 vs 3.43, P = .032). Pain scores at 10 days were equivalent (1.5 vs 1.8, P = .36). Serum C-reactive protein levels were equivalent postoperatively. At 3 months, patients undergoing MITS reported a greater mean cosmetic satisfaction score (6.3 vs 5.0, P = .002). Incision lengths measured at 3 months were 2.6 cm for MITS and 5.4 cm for CHT group, P < .001.

Conclusion

In the management of small, atypical thyroid nodules, MITS through a direct lateral approach results in less early postoperative pain and superior cosmetic results when compared with conventional thyroidectomy.

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