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  • 1295
  • 2017-04-12

Totally endoscopic left hemithyroidectomy: axillary approach for papillary carcinoma, including a critical analysis by M Vix, MD, and point by point answer by Dr. Shah

Epublication WebSurg.com, Apr 2017;17(04). URL:
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Endoscopic thyroidectomy is a novel approach used to avoid cervical scar, which represents sequelae of conventional thyroidectomies. This technique is feasible providing equal results under expert hands.
Case presentation:
This is the case of a 20 year-old woman with cervical swelling, a 3 by 3cm solitary nodule in the left thyroid lobe, which was evaluated clinically, radiologically, and withfine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC). She was diagnosed with a low-risk papillary carcinoma.
The patient underwent an endoscopic transaxillary left hemithyroidectomy under general anesthesia. The recurrent laryngeal nerve and the parathyroid gland were preserved. The patient was discharged with a normal tone on postoperative day 1.
Endoscopic transaxillary thyroidectomy is a feasible good technique with equal results, which can be considered for patients with small thyroid lesions. Conventional laparoscopic instruments are used without the need for extra instrumentation.

This video is commented upon by Dr. M Vix, MD (University Hospital, Strasbourg, France), providing a comprehensive outline of Dr. Shah's original technique.

Point by point answer by Dr. Shah:

1. Carbon dioxide causing surgical emphysema, especially of an incapacitating nature, has not been experienced since intracavitary pressures are generally maintained at a low level by the almost continuous low-grade suction used throughout the surgery.

2. In our experience, adequate visualization of the thyroid pedicles in close proximity to the gland precludes the need for a deeper and more lateral dissection to identify the jugulocarotid vessels. This potentially decreases the risk of a major vascular mishap.

3. As is the norm with open thyroidectomy, division of the superior thyroid pedicle close to the gland usually does not require the identification of the superior laryngeal nerve.

4. In this approach, the recurrent laryngeal nerve is identified very early on in the dissection. Subsequent dissection is performed in a plane anterior to the visualized nerve, hence preventing any injuries. The recurrent laryngeal nerve is visualized in its entire extent up to Berry's ligament.