Initial Experience With Robotic Gasless Transaxillary Thyroidectomy for the Management of Graves Disease: Comparison of Conventional Open Versus Robotic Thyroidectomy

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Purpose:The aim of this study was to report on our initial experiences with robotic gasless transaxillary thyroidectomy for the management of Graves disease (GD).Methods:Among 257 patients with benign thyroid diseases who underwent thyroidectomy, 16 patients who underwent thyroidectomy for GD were analyzed from January 2009 to December 2010. These patients included 7 individuals who underwent robotic gasless transaxillary thyroidectomy (robot group; RG) and 9 who underwent conventional open thyroidectomy (open group; OG). Regardless of the type of surgery, all patients underwent subtotal thyroidectomy. The clinical characteristics and surgical outcomes of the 2 groups were compared.Results:Patients in the RG were significantly younger at the time of surgery compared with those in the OG (P=0.028). The mean operative time was 171.29±18.88 minutes for the RG and 89.44±7.08 minutes for the OG (P=0.001). The mean weight of the resected glands was 77.43±12.29 g for the RG and 85.56±20.37 g for the OG (P=0.896). The RG had a significantly shorter mean hospitalization period of 3.0±0 days compared with 3.78±0.22 days of the OG. The mean number of times analgesics were used for pain control were 2.43±0.29 for the RG and 4.0±0.52 for the OG (P=0.039). No cases in the RG were converted to open thyroidectomy. During a mean follow-up period of 14.43±1.49 months for the RG, no patients continued antithyroid drugs or developed recurrent GD.Conclusions:Robotic gasless transaxillary thyroidectomy is a technically feasible and safe procedure for the patients with GD that results in a scarless outcome on the neck. This procedure can be a promising alternative for endoscopic or conventional open thyroidectomy for the management of GD.

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