Minimal invasive thyroid surgery- Endoscopic thyroid surgery/ Robotic thyroid surgery
The conventional thyroidectomy is the most rampant and safe treatment for thyroid cancer but inevitably leaves a scar on the anterior lower neck. The scar is a permanent cosmetic defect, and hence there are more viable methods of thyroid surgeries being explored by medical experts.
Endoscopic surgery- history, process, and application
The first endoscopic surgery was performed in 1996. Subsequently, various techniques of video-assisted scarless endoscopic thyroidectomy (SET) were developed over the years. The surgeon uses the camera to see and uses special instruments for performing the surgery. While conventional surgeries left a scar of 6-7 cm, these surgical technique leaves minimal scar in the hidden areas. Further, the SET method reduces hyperesthesia and paraesthesia, and also the discomfort caused while swallowing the food. The immediate post-operative pain was significantly reduced in SET as compared to the open thyroid surgery.
The endoscopic surgery can be divided into two categories- Video-assisted Thyroidectomy (VAT) and Total Endoscopic Thyroidectomy (TET), also known as SET. While VAT is the minimally invasive process, the best cosmetic results are achieved with SET/TET.
Robotic Thyroidectomy- The process
Robotic thyroidectomy is a recently developed invasive thyroid surgery technique, and yes, it leaves no scar on the neck. An incision of 5-7 mm is made under the arm to access the thyroid gland. Another cut of 5 mm is made on the chest. Robotic thyroidectomy is conducted using the daVinci surgical systems. It comprises of four robot hands which are inserted through the incision for working on the thyroid gland. The surgeon sits on a console from where he controls the robotic hands which he sees images through a 3D camera.
The latest technique of Robotic thyroidectomy is less cumbersome than the Endoscopy thyroidectomy; it leaves no scar on the neck and gives the surgeon a better view (up to 10 x magnifications) of the thyroid. On the underside, robotic surgery can be used only on patients who are not overweight and the thyroid gland or nodule is small in size.
Do consult your endocrine surgeon for treatments using the latest robotic methods of surgery.