Endoscopic Thyroidectomy With the da Vinci Robot System Using the Bilateral Axillary Breast Approach (BABA) Technique: Our Initial Experience

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IntroductionRobotic surgery is useful in areas with difficult access like the pelvis. The ideal indications for robotic surgery are still to be established. The neck area, especially the thyroid gland poses a difficult challenge for many endoscopic surgeons. Robotic surgery is useful in this area due to its excellent magnification and endowrist function. We present our initial experience with robotic endoscopic thyroidectomy using the bilateral axillary breast approach (BABA).Methods and ResultsBetween March and May 2008, 15 patients diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer underwent robotic-assisted endoscopic thyroidectomy using the BABA technique. The mean operating time was 218 minutes. There was a steady decrease in operative time from the initial case to the 15th case. The blood loss was minimal. The recurrent laryngeal nerve and parathyroid glands were identified in great detail with ease and preserved in all cases. There were no postoperative complications in any case.ConclusionsRobotic endoscopic thyroidectomy using the BABA technique is a feasible procedure and can be performed safely. It provides an excellent operative field view enabling easy identification of vital structures. It also gives the desired cosmetic results and minimal postoperative pain similar to conventional endoscopic thyroid surgery using the BABA technique.

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